The discovery, long sought by cultivators, is set to cut cost of purchasing high-yielding variety of seeds, said US-based Kashmiri researcher Imtiyaz Khanday, who is a part of the team. In a major breakthrough in agriculture, scientists in the US have discovered a way to make hybrid rice plants replicate through cloned seeds. The discovery, long sought by cultivators, is set to cut cost of purchasing high-yielding variety of seeds, said US-based Kashmiri researcher Imtiyaz Khanday, who is a part of the team. According to Khanday, farmers would now need to buy hybrid seeds just once, not every year. “We have developed a technology by which plants can produce progeny through seeds which are exact replicas or clones of the mother plant, which means that we can propagate high-yielding, disease-resistant and drought-resistant hybrid crops without losing these traits or properties through successive generations,” Khanday, the lead author of the article, told The Indian Express. The findings were published in the recent edition of journal ‘Nature’ – a multidisciplinary science journal. A native of Zangam, a small village in north Kashmir’s Pattan, Khanday did his Masters from the University of Kashmir and doctorate from Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) in Bangalore before moving to the US for his post-doctoral research. Currently, he is a researcher at University of California, Davis.
The research was conducted by Khanday, Prof Venkatesan Sunderesan, a professor of plant biology at the university, and other researchers from the US and France. Claiming that the discovery could “ensure food security for the growing world population”, Khanday said: “I can’t say this technology is going to end the food shortage in the world, but it has the potential to revolutionise agriculture.” While hybrid seeds have high yield, tolerance to climatic changes and are disease resistant, unlike other crops their seeds don’t produce plants with same quality and traits. As such the farmers, every year, have to purchase such seeds from the open market. The discovery will help to the farmers across the world, especially in the developing countries, to sow hybrid rice varieties, which they have so far resisted because of high costs. “Hybrid seeds are very expensive and thus hybrid crops are underutilised in developing countries. Earlier, these expensive hybrid seeds needed to be purchased each year from commercial seed companies and farmers in developing countries couldn’t afford them,” Khanday said. “This technology will enable farmers to plant seeds from their own hybrid crops, every sowing season.” “Ensuring food security for all is going to be major challenge for humans in the near future. What can be more satisfying then being part of a team that is helping achieve this goal?” Khanday said.
Source : https://indianexpress.com
Published on: December 26, 2018