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Sorghum scientists from public and private sectors across India gather to share insights on modern breeding technologies

Continuing a long-standing partnership with sorghum scientists across institutes in India, a long-overdue field day showcases elite breeding lines, varieties, hybrids and hybrid show cased parental lines of sorghum at ICRISAT Hyderabad. Proceeding with all necessary precautions in place as per our COVID-19 guidelines, participants shared valuable insights on the progressive evolution in sorghum breeding with modern tools and technologies that enabled better efficiencies in breeding and selection.

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Sorghum scientists from public and private sectors across India gather to share insights on modern breeding technologies

  1. 1. Newsletter Happenings In-house version 19 March 2021, No.1898 Field day Sorghum scientists from public and private sectors across India gather to share insights on modern breeding technologies Dr Govindaraj guiding other sorghum researchers through the field. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT Continuing a long-standing partnership with sorghum scientists across institutes in India, a long-overdue field day showcases elite breeding lines, varieties, hybrids and hybrid show cased parental lines of sorghum at ICRISAT Hyderabad. Proceeding with all necessary precautions in place as per our COVID-19 guidelines, participants shared valuable insights on the progressive evolution in sorghum breeding with modern tools and technologies that enabled better efficiencies in breeding and selection. Welcoming sorghum researchers from the public and private sectors across the country, Dr Harish Gandhi, Theme Lead, Crop Improvement, and Interim Global Head–Breeding, highlighted inclusion of new areas in sorghum research agendas. Citing the implementation of focused product profiles as high priority for ICRISAT’s breeding program, he said that apart from being considered a food grain, sorghum should be looked at for other uses too e.g. fodder, brewery etc. Several partners and participants joined the event virtually. Among them was Dr Vilas Tonapi, Director, Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), who emphasized a holistic and focused approach to mitigate the issues in sorghum e.g. grain mold in rainy season sorghum, which has led to the decline in the sorghum rainy season area; grain quality in new hybrids/varieties in postrainy sorghum to improve the acceptability by farmers, etc. Besides, he underlined the importance of growing forage and biofuel segments in the rainy and postrainy seasons. He also appreciated ICRISAT for using new diverse germplasm lines in hybrid parental line development and its diversification. Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director-General Research, ICRISAT, said, “This sorghum field day is the first official event that we’ve held after starting 100% work back in the workplace." Hailing the public-private partnership breeding approach, he congratulated the sorghum team and partners, and hoped for continued collaboration to make a difference in delivering breeding traits germplasm and more int eh future. Dr M Govindaraj, Senior Scientist, Sorghum Breeding, led the group to postrainy breeding fields, presenting field plans and pipeline materials at various generations (~2000) and their trait specificity to participants to enable them to make appropriate selections. He emphasized the new method (chemically induced male sterility) that his team is validating to estimate the combining ability of sorghum B-line breeding pipelines and drone phenotyping with the support of the Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB) through Dr Vincent Vadez (IRD, France). He recalled how in 2020, with great support from Dr Peter Carberry, then-Director General, CIOT staff, and other Theme Leads, critical breeding materials were harvested during the lockdown period and were now being displayed.

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