ICRISAT Current Affairs - 2019

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ICRISAT-led team identifies Climate-Resilient Genes in Chickpea

Recently, an international collaboration of 20 research organizations led by Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) identified climate resilient genes in chickpea. They cracked genetic code to develop climate resilient chickpea with genes for heat tolerance and genes for drought tolerance.

Key Findings

  • Scientists study based on complete genome sequencing of 429 chickpea lines from 45 different countries, identified that chickpea has four important genes for heat tolerance and three important genes for drought tolerance.
  • Application: Identification of these climate-resistant genes will help in developing newer chickpea varieties which can tolerate temperatures up to 38°C.
  • The identification of other genes with important agronomic traits (high yield, test weight, kernel weight, maturity, plant height, and lodging resistance) will help in increasing crop yield and providing better resistance to pests and diseases.

Chickpea:

  • It is an annual legume of Fabaceae family and is highly rich in protein.
  • It is also known by name of gram, Bengal Gram, Garbanzo, Garbanzo bean, and Egyptian pea.
  • It is a cool season crop. In India, it is sown in September-October and harvested in January-February. In 2016, India produced 64% of world’s total chickpeas.
  • More than 90% of chickpea cultivation area is in South Asia, including India as it is important in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • It originated in Mediterranean/south-west Asia and migrated to south Asia.
  • Globally, more than 70% of its yield is lost due to drought and increasing temperatures.

ICRISAT: The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

  • It is an international non-profit organization whichundertakes agricultural research for rural development in the semi-arid tropics (SAT) region. It was established in 1972,
  • and its charter was signed by the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
  • It performs crop improvement research on crops like Chickpea, Pigeonpea, Groundnut, Pearl millet, Sorghum, Finger Millet and Small millets.
  • The Semi-Arid Tropics (SAT) region: It is a region characterised by highly variable, low to medium rainfall, poor soils, and lack of irrigation, thus considered to be a less favoured area (LFA).

ICRISAT, ICAR join hands for crop improvement

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement to work together

They will work together on crop improvement and agronomy programmes for grain legumes and dryland cereals. It will benefit small farmers in India and globally.

Key Facts
  • The agreement has identified climate smart crops, smart food and digitalisation of breeding database as some of the core areas of research.
  • The other areas of focus include developing genetic and genomic resources of finger millet and enhancing genetic gains for priority traits, integrating systems modelling tools for upscaling climate resilient agriculture.
  • On crop improvement front, it will facilitate research on pigeonpea and chickpea for insect resistance. Dryland cereals and grain legumes are branded as smart foods.

About International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT)

  • ICRISAT is a non-profit agricultural research organization headquartered in Patancheru in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • It was founded in 1972 by a consortium of organizations convened by the Ford and the Rockefeller Foundations.
  • Its charter was signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • It has several regional centres around globe- Niamey (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and research stations Bamako (Mali), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe).
  • Since its inception, India has granted special status to ICRISAT as a UN Organization operating in the Indian Territory making it eligible for special immunities and tax privileges. 

About Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India. It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education under the Union Ministry of Agriculture. The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.