Sat. Sep 30th, 2023
Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurates ‘National Genome Editing and Training Centre’ in Punjab

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh on Thursday inaugurated “National Genome Editing and Training Centre (NGETC)” at National Agri-food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) Mohali in Punjab. He also inaugurated a 4-day International Conference on Food and Nutritional Security 2023.

Genome editing is a crucial tool to cause site-specific gene mutation changes so that important crop traits can be developed. These mutations have the potential to mimic nature-like mutations and could be target specific in the genome. NGETC will cater to the regional needs to adapt different genome editing methods. It will also empower young researchers by providing them with training and guidance about its application in crops.

In the current climatic scenario, improving crops for better nutrition and tolerance to the changing environmental condition is a significant challenge. Genome editing could be a promising technology that Indian research could adapt to offer the desired tailor-made traits in crops. 

Dr Singh said that Agri-tech StartUp has an exclusive potential in India. He said, “the StartUp movement has picked up momentum in India and led to creation of over 80,000 StartUps whose number was only about 350 before 2014.”

The Minister said, “this quantum jump in the number of StartUps must equally and proportionally reflect in Agri and Bio-tech as well because this area is yet to be fully explored and taken advantage of by Indian entrepreneurs and youth.”

The 4-day conference will brainstorm how genome editing could enhance the country’s food and nutritional security under the changing climate in the country. The conference will work as a stage for fostering new research collaborations between laboratories in different countries.

Advanced biotechnology tools such as genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 has potential to achieve these goals in a sustainable manner.

NABI, under the Department of Biotechnology, is a national institute with a mandate focusing on research activities at the interface of Agriculture, Food and nutritional biotechnology. NABI can expand the genome editing of crops, including Banana, Rice, Wheat, Tomato, Maize and Millets.

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