National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) has been entrusted with the responsibility of developing new tools and techniques and also to embrace breakthrough in biotechnology for crop improvement. With a humble beginning and a few dedicated scientists, the centre could successfully deliver varieties such as Pusa Jai Kisan, which is one of the top three mustard varieties released by the ICAR till date. Besides, the centre has released a rice variety Improved Pusa Basmati-1 resistant to bacterial leaf blight using marker assisted selection (MAS) in collaboration with the Division of Genetics, IARI. Moricandia based CMS system developed at NRCPB has contributed to the commercial production of mustard hybrids namely NRC Sankar Sarson (DRMR, Bharatpur) and Coral 432 (Advanta India). The rice blast resistance gene Pi54 identified, mapped, cloned and characterized at NRCPB has been transferred in mega varieties of rice like Pusa Basmati-1 and BPT 5204 and in many other varieties by the rice breeders using MAS. The centre has matched steps with the changing time and conducted research in basic and applied research for crop improvement resulting in many publications in high impact factor journals, patents and public private partnerships. The state-of-the-art infrastructure and expertise of the scientists have enabled the successful execution of International (rice, tomato and wheat) and National (Pigeonpea, Mango, Mesorhizobium, Puccinia and Magnaporthe) genome sequencing projects.
Besides, showing impact in the areas of research and development, NRCPB has been instrumental in developing trained human resource in the areas of plant molecular biology and biotechnology. We have already trained more than 400 post graduate students and scientists across India. All these scientists are working in different institutions in India and abroad. We will continue to serve as a Centre of Excellence in teaching and training in advanced areas of biotechnology.
The Centre has been awarded with two national level awards, Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institution Award (2011-12) and Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Sansthan Samman–2012 for its outstanding performance and contribution in Indian agriculture and research. The scientists from the Institute have been awarded with prestigious national awards like Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award, JC Bose National Fellowship, National Bioscience Award, ICAR Young Scientist award, VASVIK Award, NAAS Recognition and Young Scientist awards, NASI Reliance platinum Jubilee award. The fellowships of INSA, NASc and NAAS obtained by the Scientists have brought laurels to the centre. We have glorious past but need to work hard by adopting latest bio techniques to face the future challenges for sustaining agricultural food production.
NRCPB now has capabilities, skilled human resource and infrastructure in the field of genomics, bioinformatics and computational biology and transgenics. Having decoded the major crop genomes, the next logical step is to take up functional genomics of agronomically important traits. Generation of genomic resources for complex and large crop genomes requires huge amount of financial and technical inputs, hence comparative genomics of such genomes could form a major activity of NRCPB in future. By understanding the gene-trait relationship through genomic approaches, in future, NRCPB will lay more emphasis on bioprospecting of the genes and allele mining for yield, quality, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance owing to the availability of vast genetic diversity in India for most of the crop species. Introgression of important genes and alleles in different crops using marker assisted selection (MAS) and transgenics will be our top priority in future.
In this era of globalization and advances in information technology, it is relatively easy to interact globally. Hence, we will form more cohesive, effective and mutually beneficial national and international linkages across academic institutions. I will try to bring excellence in our ongoing efforts by acting as an Accelerator rather than Administrator. For achieving our goals, we should work like a TEAM where, T: Transparency, E: Excellence, A: Accountability and M: Motivation. With the dedicated and excellent team of scientists and technical staff, young enthusiastic budding researchers and students and supportive administrative staff, we will shoulder the responsibility of solving many complex problems for the welfare of mankind.