Hyderabad, Feb 15: The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) had achieved a breakthrough in gene manipulation that will benefit farmers with increased yields, if applied to food crops.
Talking to newspersons here yesterday, Imran Siddiqui, group leader of the research team, said by altering a single gene in the 'Arabidopsis' plant, the team brought a deployed female gamete, which has both male and female chromosomes in full number.
''The significance of the finding is that if applied to food crops, it will allow the farmer to produce the hybrid seeds with the same vigour for successive generations,'' said Dr Siddiqui. This discovery would encourage the production of hybrids, which could grow in small agro-climatic conditions, he added.
Dr Siddiqui said the findings would lead to reduction of the cost of commercial hybrid seed production and also allow farmers to propagate their own hybrid seed. The research work had important implications for the development of new methods in plant breeding that would lead to an increased yield in food crops and also benefit farmers in the developing countries, he added.
Director of the CCMB Dr Lalji Singh said, ''For the first time, we were able to find out the mutant and we will be able to produce plants equivalent to hybrids in future. A patent had been filed for this discovery.'' Replying to a question he said work in this field started ten years ago.
The breakthrough would reduce the cost of seed production, encourage successive propagation of hybrids, help in accelerated breeding and encourage risk in breeding practice.
The research in this field was also being done in Australia, United Kingdom and Europe.