Icrisat, Aussie firm in tie-up for joint research in plant genomics

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 05, 2014 02:00 hrs

Hyderabad-headquartered International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (Icrisat) has signed a research agreement with Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIA), a not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development Corporation (RDC) for Australia’s $9.5-billion horticulture industry.

The memorandum of understanding, signed by HIA director David Cliffe and Icrisat director-general William Dar, will allow researchers from both the institutions to undertake joint research and development (R&D) in plant genomics for the first time through HIA.

“HIA is glad to start this collaboration with Icrisat in the area of modern genome science, including sequencing, genotyping and functional genomics, that will help advance the horticulture industry in Australia and worldwide,” Cliffe said in a press release.

According to Rajeev Varshney, director of Icrisat's centre of excellence in genomics and the research programme on grain legumes, Icrisat had already completed the genome sequencing of reference genomes of legume crops such as chickpea and pigeonpea, having sequenced the genomes of more than 1,000 lines of these legumes.

"We are very keen to work with HIA to accelerate their efforts in the area of genome sequencing and analysis," he said.

The application of genomic tools has tremendous potential in reducing the breeding cycle in horticultural crops for the benefit of the Australian industries, said Alok Kumar from HIA, who negotiated for the research partnership between Icrisat and HIA.