Integrated Centre for Drought Research
Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru 560 065

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Subprogram 1:  Genotypes with constituent drought adaptive traits

Germplasm characterization to identify donor lines with relevant drought adaptive traits

Approach: Phenotype the germplasm accessions, breeding lines to identify trait donor lines for water mining (roots), WUE, water conservation and intrinsic tolerance. Robust phenotyping tools like stable isotope signatures, specific root structures and other physiological techniques have been developed.

Sub-program 2:  Genes for improving drought tolerance

i) Transcriptional profiling and activation tagging to identify relevant candidate genes

Approach: The stress genes developed in house (finger millet EST & groundnut) and out sourced genes will be characterized in model systems and subsequently multigene constructs will be developed with validated genes on inducible promoters, finally develop transgenic crop plants. Several functional genomics tools like VIGS, RNAi and code expression have been developed.

ii) To develop gain-in function mutants (enhancing expression of gene by transformation of enhancers) to identify functionally relevant stress responsive genes.

Approach: Gain-in function mutants by activation tagging are being generated in rice. Subsequent characterization of relevant stress specific phenotypes provides an option to identify and functionally validate the genes. Efficient gene constructs and protocols for transformation and screening have been developed.

Subprogram 3:  Transgenics for improving the drought tolerance

Development of transgenics expressing stress genes and their evaluation

Approach: Develop genotyping independent transformation protocols, develop transgenics in mandate crops with validated genes in the background of gentotypes with superior water relation traits. The emphasis is to pyramid traits to improve adaptation. Robust stress screening protocols have been developed to assess the bio-efficacy – stress response.

Subprogram 4:  Trait introgression to improve drought tolerance through molecular breeding

a) Identification of QTL for specific drought traits
b) Development of double haploid as a tool to
    i) Introgress traits
   ii) Develop mapping populations

i) Trait introgression to improve drought tolerance through molecular breeding

Approach: Phenotyping and molecular characterization of either trait specific bi-parental populations or diverse panel of germplasms accessions and identify markers/QTL for traits of interest, introgress and adopt MAS to improve the adaptation. Novel phenotyping platform and high throughput genotyping techniques have been developed.

ii) Developing double haploids as to tool to (a) introgress the traits (b) develop mapping population

Approach: Development of androgenic haploids from F1 anthers and subsequent diploidization in model crop – tobacco and target species rice. Tobacco hapoloids have been successfully developed and protocols for diploidisation is in process. Methodologies are being standardized for rice.


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