AUSTRALIA - Hyderabad-based United Nations organisation; International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) has signed a new research memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreement with Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA).
The MoU will help Australian agencies to undertake joint research and development (R&D) in plant genomics for the first time through HIA.
The agreement was signed by David Cliffe, HIA Director and Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General.
"We are excited that through this collaboration with HIA, ICRISAT and Australia will be doing not only high-quality but also high-impact research that is expected to reach and benefit millions of farmers and consumers globally," Dr Dar said of the agreement.
Acknowledging the support from ICRISAT, Cliffe said, "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."
"We have completed the genome sequencing of reference genomes of leading legume crops such as chickpea and pigeonpea, having sequenced the genomes of more than 1000 lines of these legumes. We are very keen to work with HIA to accelerate their efforts in the area of genome sequencing and analysis," Dr Rajeev Varshney, Director of ICRISAT’s Center of Excellence in Genomics and the Research Programme on Grain Legumes said.
Dr Varshney is a world leader in applied genomics in field crops, and has strong linkages with a number of Australian researchers.
"The application of genomic tools has tremendous potential in reducing the breeding cycle in horticultural crops for the benefit of the Australian industries," Dr Alok Kumar from HIA said, who negotiated for the research partnership between ICRISAT and HIA.
Dr David Moore, General Manager, HIA and several researchers from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; the University of Queensland; and the Queensland University of Agriculture & Technology (QUT) were also present on the signing ceremony that are part of the HIA-led delegation visiting India.
Both ICRISAT and HIA have committed to explore other areas of research in a number of horticultural crops.