Project on transgenic crops launched in Andhra Pradesh

February 9th, 2009 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Feb 9 (IANS) The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have together launched a project for establishing a Platform for Translational Research on Transgenic Crops (PTTC).

The foundation stone for the $6.2 million project was Monday laid by M.K. Bhan, secretary, DBT, and William Dar, director general of ICRISAT, at ICRISAT camps at Patancheru near here.

The DBT-funded Platform will translate transgenic technology and harness its products to meet the needs of farm growth and serve as a facility of reference to strengthen national, regional and international linkages in transgenic research and development, exchange of materials and information, as well as support training, consultation and technology commercialisation.

The PTTC will provide an opportunity for public sector research institutes and private sector biotechnology companies to work together for translating transgenic research into products, said a statement from ICRISAT.

Dar said that research breakthroughs in agri-biotechnology hold the potential for increasing crop productivity and the resistance of food crops to pests and diseases, thereby helping solve the food crisis.

The future food demand cannot be met merely from incremental gains from conventional plant breeding. A quantum change in yield improvement is needed, such as that which occurred during the Green Revolution, he said.

Transgenics offers a powerful tool for nutritional enhancement that may save lives or help farmers adapt to climate change through faster integration of genes for drought and flood tolerance, in the process generating social, economic and environmental benefits for resource-poor farmers.

Bhan said that the PTTC will bring together the expertise of DBT and ICRISAT and build partnerships to strengthen the conceptualisation, development and delivery of agri-biotechnological research products that will ultimately benefit the Indian farmers in improving their incomes.

By financially supporting the PTTC, the DBT wants to fund research and provide infrastructure for innovation, so that transgenic technology can strengthen agricultural productivity, he said.

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