New Delhi, Jan 16: India has developed a high protein hybrid maize, containing 40 per cent more amino acids-- the first success through the marker-based genome breeding approach.
Announcing this here today, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said a Rs 500 crore designer crop programme had also been launched to increase the nutrients of eight crops, such as wheat, rice, cotton, linseed and chickpea, through the marker assisted selection-- the plant breeding molecular biology approach of the 21st century.
Eminent scientist A S Paintal is heading the programme and is expected to submit his report within a month.
On the new maize variety, Mr Sibal said it had been developed within three years by the Vivekanand Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan (VPKA) under a project sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology.
It would have taken ten years to develop this variety through the conventional method.
The new variety, with 40 per cent more lysine and tryptophan (amino acids) content and 10 per cent higher yield, is an improvement over the Vivek Hybrid 9 which did not normally fit into the cropping pattern of cultivators in the hilly areas because of its late maturity.
''The new early maturing hybrid variety (FQH 4567) has not only high protien content but can also be grown in hilly successfully areas such as Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir,'' Mr Sibal said.
The new hybrid's protein content, which is equivalent to the protein available in milk, will be increased to 100 per cent within the next two years.