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Genetic Resources and Bio-prospecting


Sustained growth in agricultural productivity will depend upon continued improvements in germplasm (plants, animals including fish and microbes) and improved nutritional value of staple foods, besides crop and livestock disease and pest control. The traits required include improved yield potential, increasing yield stability through resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and enhancing adaptation to high stress conditions like drought, water logging and salinity. Genetic resources (plant, animal and microbial) constitute one of the most important and invaluable natural resources and their effective documentation and utilization are an important endeavor. The importance of undertaking such an activity with the help of local communities, NGOs, etc. cannot be overemphasized. Identification of resistance genes in wild relatives, molecular marker mapping and marker-assisted transfer to the elite germplasm may be pursued. Bio-prospecting will have to lay the foundation for effective mining and targeted the transfer of genes for specific traits. The vast microbial gene pool has to be explored and utilized for crop and animal improvement. Such efforts are not only capital-and knowledge-intensive, but also warrant strong public-public and public-private partnerships. Interactions between research institutes and the industry need to be strengthened for realizing the full potential of frontier sciences