Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II

Supporting agricultural development through biotechnology

India

Project: Fruit and Shoot Borer Resistant (FSBR)/Bt Eggplant

Technology

Eggplants genetically engineered to express the Cry1Ac gene are being developed to control the eggplant fruit and shoot borer. Cry1Ac is a gene from the naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, and produces an insecticidal protein that protects plants from some caterpillars, including the eggplant fruit and shoot borer.

Expected Benefits

Resource-limited farmers stand to benefit economically from:


Apart from this, Bt. eggplant improves human and animal health, and reduces damage to the environment as a result of less frequent chemical pesticide sprays. The project has also facilitated improved capacity in the areas of research, licensing and communication through hands-on training, partnerships, exchange visits and workshop participation.

Partners

  • Bangladesh Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Bangladesh
  • Cornell University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), USA
  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, India
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India
  • Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), India
  • International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA) - Southeast Asia Center, Philippines
  • Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (MAHYCO), India
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd., India
  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), India
  • University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UAS-D), India
  • University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Philippines
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, USA
  • Participating Countries

    Bangladesh, India, Philippines

    Country Specific Data for Eggplant in India

    Economic Importance: Fruit and shoot borer is the most serious eggplant pest in India. Damage by this pest starts soon after transplanting and continues until the fruit is harvested. Crop loss is estimated to be anywhere from 54% to 70%. To control the pest, the use of chemical insecticides has been the most common approach. Farmers often spray once a week to control this pest. This excessive pesticide use threatens the health of farmers and consumers, and raises the cost of eggplant for consumers. In addition, the insect is becoming tolerant to chemical pesticides, making it more difficult to control.

    Current Status: Partners in India have developed 16 transgenic Bt eggplant varieties. The Bt eggplant product was approved by India’s Committee (GEAC) in October 2009 but commercialization of the product is currently under a moratorium imposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

    Partners within the Country

  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
  • Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR)
  • Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (MAHYCO)
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU)
  • University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UAS-D)
  •  


    Project: Tobacco Streak Virus Resistant (TSVR) Groundnut

    Technology

    Viruses are encapsulated by a coat protein (CP) that acts as a protective cage for the virus. It has been well documented in many plants that introduction of a specific viral coat protein can render plant resistant to the target virus. The TSV coat protein gene from the virus that occurs in India was transformed into a local variety of groundnut, essentially vaccinating it against the virus, through its own defense mechanism.

    Expected Benefits

  • High quality groundnut seed available on the market at affordable prices.

  • Reduction of crop loss due to tobacco streak virus.

  • Savings in crop protection costs that might otherwise be incurred to protect from tobacco streak virus.

  • Increased income and food security for small scale farmers.

  • Increased ability to continue research on groundnut at ICRISAT.
  • Partners

  • Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) - Department of Biotechnology, India
  • Cornell University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), USA
  • Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC), USA
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India
  • National Bureau of Plant Genetic Research, India
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd., India
  • Participating Countries

    India

    Country Specific Data for Groundnut in India

    Economic Importance: In India groundnut is an important oilseed crop, cultivated on 7.5 million hectares, with an annual production of 8 million tons. More than nine million small and marginal farmers depend on this and other small oilseed crops for their livelihoods.
    Oilseed crops such as groundnut are cultivated in unfavorable areas for agriculture, where farmers have limited options to grow other crops. The majority of these areas have a single crop in the year and farmers are dependent on the success of these crops for their sustenance as well as to feed their livestock. Groundnut is grown exclusively by small and marginal farmers who have witnessed erosion of their income by more than half due to the virus.
    Farmers and their political representatives in affected areas have made finding a solution to TSV one of their highest agricultural priorities and are very supportive of the ABSPII initiative. This cooperative effort will provide an opportunity to commercialize the product once the technology and the product are tested and ready for use.

    Current Status:

    Partners within the Country

  • Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) - Department of Biotechnology
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
  • National Bureau of Plant Genetic Research
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
  •  


    Project: Late Blight Resistant (LBR) Potato

    Technology

    A late blight resistance gene (Rb) has been isolated from a wild relative of potato (Solanum bulbocastanum). Unfortunately this variety is distant enough that it cannot be conventionally crossed with commercial potato. The gene conferring late blight resistance to Solanum bulbocastanum has been cloned. Transgenic potatoes expressing this gene have been shown to be resistant to late blight and an event has been selected that shows a high level of resistance. ABSPII partners are using this event to conventionally breed this technology into locally popular varieties.

    Expected Benefits

  • Small scale farmers could benefit economically from increased yields, improved potato quality and savings from reduced fungicide sprays.

  • Environmentally, soil conditions could improve from a decline in the use of fungicide sprays.

  • Countries gain access to advanced biotechnology.

  • Collaboration among potato scientists in South and South East Asia to exchange research data, field testing and commercialization of new potato varieties.
  • Partners

  • Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) - Potato Research Center (PRC), Bangladesh
  • Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), India
  • Cornell University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), USA
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India
  • Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD), Indonesia
  • Indonesian Center for Agricultural Biotechnology and Genetic Resources Research and Development (ICABIOGRAD), Indonesia
  • Indonesian Vegetable Research Institute (IVEGRI), Indonesia
  • International Potato Late Blight Testing Program (PICTIPAPA), Mexico
  • International Potato Research Center (CIP), Peru
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd., India
  • University of Wisconsin (UW) - Biotechnology Center, USA
  • Participating Countries

    Bangladesh, India, Indonesia

    Country Specific Data for Potato in India

    Economic Importance: Potato, a cash crop, has completely replaced many traditional crops (such as buckwheat, hogmillet and foxtail millet) since the 1960s in India, offering a good source of income to resource-poor farmers. Potato offers a very high weight of food per acre, making it a good option for small subsistence farmers. A very limited quantity of potato is exported, mostly to Sri Lanka and countries in the Middle East, but it is primarily consumed domestically.

    Potato is relatively expensive in India because of high production costs, namely poor seed quality and the heavy use of fungicide to control late blight.

    Current Status: Partners in India have conducted multi location field trials and have selected a candidate event for commercial release. Partners are currently developing the biosafety and regulatory dossier. A second generation product with a stacked gene (RNAi) is also under consideration.

    Partners within the Country

  • Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI)
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
  •  


    Project: Drought and Salinity Tolerant (DST) Rice

    Technology

    A drought and salt tolerant technology developed by the late Prof. Ray Wu at Cornell University is being tested in genetically engineered rice to assess the plant’s abilities to tolerate high-stress growing conditions. The technology involves manipulating genes required for synthesis of the naturally occurring sugar trehalose. Greenhouse studies assessing the technology have been quite promising.

    Expected Benefits

  • Introducing advanced technology developed in the public domain will supplement the efforts of national governments to meet the challenges of food and nutritional security.

  • Increased income for marginal farmers through improved crop production.

  • A single technology will be applicable to address two individual constraints: drought and salinity.
  • Partners

  • Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh
  • Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), India
  • Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC), USA
  • Cornell University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), USA
  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, India
  • Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), India
  • International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), India
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd., India
  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), India
  • Participating Countries

    Bangladesh, India

    Country Specific Data for Rice in India

    Economic Importance: Rice is grown on about 44 million hectares in India. Over 9 million hectares are severely impacted by drought and salinity. Water available for agriculture has fallen by nearly 10% during the last decade because of increasing demand from industrial and domestic sectors. The Department of Biotechnology in India considers this situation a high priority and has agreed to provide matching support for ABSPII’s stress tolerance project.

    Current Status: The trehalose gene has been incorporated into Indian rice lines by ICGEB for development of Drought and Salinity Tolerant Rice. The drought and salinity tolerant lines are undergoing field trials for evaluation of efficacy.

    Partners within the Country

  • Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI)
  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India
  • Directorate of Rice Research (DRR)
  • International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU)
  •