February 2, 2012 admin


LUDHIANA, FEBRUARY 2 : A two-day science meet of “Indo- Australian Programme on Marker Assisted Wheat Breeding (IAP-MAWB),” began today at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The meet has been organized by Wheat section of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics (PBG), PAU, in association with the Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR), Karnal.  The meet involves the participation of Australian scientists and a review team of Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), who are on a visit to the PAU in connection with the ACIAR research projects on wheat being carried across the country. Two projects entitled “Molecular marker technologies for faster wheat breeding in India” and “IAP-MAWB project on wheat grain quality,” are underway in Wheat section of the PAU under the aegis of ACIAR and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
            Speaking on this occasion, the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, said that the projects are vital for university as well as for Australia. The key issues of climate change and water logging in the present day agri-scenario call for the attention of the experts, he said and adding that upgrading to a new technology always involves collaborations, guidance and expertise. The PAU excels in research on wheat crop in the country, highlighted Dr Dhillon and lauded the progress of the projects. He remarked that fruitful deliberations and future international linkages are essential for re-orienting research programmes. The meet would also provide an opportunity to the junior scientists, engaged in ICAR-ACIAR projects, to share their research experiences, stated he.
            In his opening remarks, Dr R.P. Dua, Assistant Director General (FFC) of ICAR, said that the ICAR-ACIAR programme has been going on for the last 25 years. Stating that there is no end to knowledge, study and ideas, he told that the major emphasis is on addressing the prime areas of Indian agriculture including water management and climate change. Although wheat is a major crop, yet value addition of agricultural commodities is of paramount importance, emphasized he.
            Dr Richard Bretttell, Chairman, ACIAR Review team, said that strong and productive relationships have been established between the scientists of both the countries. Highlighting that Australia and India share key commodity crops, he added that the two-day meet would enable the experts to look at the observations and recommendations, thereby, paving way for the bright future of agriculture. 
Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU, said that wheat is a major crop of Punjab. With 3.5 per cent million hectare area, the Punjab state has produced 15. 3 million tones of wheat during the year 2010-11. He revealed that in climate changing scenario, the PAU has analyzed the data of 40 years and has found that the average temperature has gone up by 1I0;C. In view of this, there is a need to raise heat tolerant varieties. As the University has long association with Australia in terms of projects in various disciplines, the future thrust will be on strengthening the ties with Australia for research, he added.
Dr Indu Sharma, Project Director, DWR, Karnal, said that the projects focus on accelerated wheat breeding through integration of Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) in the conventional system. Through these projects, platform has been made for the development of wheat varieties for the drought areas, using the genotypes, made available by Australia having different RHT genes with different root traits. The mechanization of resistance identification for growing wheat in water logging conditions is also under study, she informed.  
The delegation members also interacted with Heads of the Departments of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering (FMPE), Soil Science, Agronomy and Plant Breeding and Genetics (PBG) namely Drs J.S. Mahal, U.S. Sadana, G.S. Buttar and Dr M.S. Gill. The meet saw joint Indo-Australian presentations on status of research with focus on molecular markers and data management, water logging, traits for greater water use efficiency, biotic stress, makers for quality traits and future collaborations. 
            On this occasion, Dr Sharma honoured Dr Dhillon, Dr Bretttell, Dr R.P. Dua, members of review team namely Dr S. Nagarajan, Dr Don Marshall and other Australian scientists with a memento.

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