Advances in pearl millet: Corteva Agriscience – ICRISAT


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Corteva Agriscience – ICRISAT – ICAR collaborates to revolutionize global food security and advances in pearl millet.

Corteva Agriscience - ICRISAT - ICAR collaboration redefines global food security.
Corteva Agriscience – ICRISAT – ICAR collaboration redefines global food security.

In an era of growing global population and concerns about climate change, a joint research initiative involving Corteva Agriscience, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICRISAT) ICAR) were started. . This research has achieved an important milestone by re-sequencing the genome of pearl millet. This innovative approach has resulted in the creation of new molecular markers, which have paved the way for the development of millet varieties that offer exceptional yield performance and improved nutritional quality.

A recent collaboration has led to the discovery of reliable DNA markers in the sorghum world, resulting in three high-quality genome assemblies that represent global breeding germplasm. This achievement is a huge improvement over previous figures, with a 7,000-fold increase. These DNA markers are expected to greatly boost pearl millet productivity worldwide to address food safety challenges. The research is timely, in line with discussions at the G20 on food and nutrition security. Sorghum is recognized for its nutritional value and resilience to climate change, and with 2023 being the International Year of Sorghum, its importance is emphasized in the face of global environmental challenges.

This collaborative research development has important implications for sustainable food production and food security. This includes the use of platinum-grade genome assemblies to better understand genomic diversity in pearl millet, particularly in the context of a global heterotic gene pool. The long-read sequence accuracy and improved haplotype resolution provided by these assemblies will aid in the study of traits related to heterosis, such as fertility maintenance, disease resistance, and agronomy.

Furthermore, gene annotation and enrichment analyzes have highlighted the significant presence of cysteine ​​and methionine coding genes in the millet genome. This finding is in line with previous research showing that pearl millet has a higher amino acid content than legumes such as pigeon pea and chickpea. This suggests that sorghum and legumes can complement each other in a balanced diet, making them valuable weapons in the fight against malnutrition.

As we confront the challenges of global food security and climate change, the joint efforts of Corteva Agriscience, ICRISAT, and ICAR have illuminated a promising path forward. By harnessing the power of genomics, this research opens new opportunities for sustainable agriculture, healthier diets, and improved food security globally.

First Published: 05 Oct 2023, 14:41 IST

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