The ICAR- VPKAS (Vivekananda Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan) [Vivekananda Institute for Hill Agriculture] is an institution par excellence for hill agricultural research in the country. The Division of Crop Improvement at ICAR-VPKAS is one of the important pillars of this institute. This Division has been in existence at ICAR-VPKAS since 1986. Since its inception, the Division has been making significant contributions to basic, strategic and applied research in genetics and plant breeding of important hill crops. The Division has made several unique contributions like first dual purpose wheat variety in the country, first baby corn variety, first MAS-derived QPM hybrid in the country besides others, which make it stand as a centre of excellence in research related to genetics and plant breeding.
The Division of Crop Improvement has so far developed 136 high yielding disease resistant varieties of 17 important hill crops. Many of them are popular among the farmers of the zone. Some of them are popular in other parts of the country also. These high yielding varieties have brought name and fame to the institute. The Division has been continuously upgrading its research programmes, keeping in view the recent developments in crop genetics and breeding.
Infrastructure and Other Facilities
Laboratory Facilities: Besides "Well equipped Laboratory for Molecular breeding", the Division has a modern laboratory for undertaking quality breeding aspects. The equipment include Ultracentrifuges, PCR machines, Spectrophotometers, Deep Freezers (-80°C and -20°C) etc. The Division also has Fluorescent Microscopes with photographic facilities, Fragment analyser, AAS etc. Generator and UPS facilities are also available for back-up of equipment.
Common Facilities: Reprography facilities available for meeting the requirements of the Divisional staff.
Farm facilities: A well developed hill farm is available to cater the need of all field related experiments.
Intensive research work in improvement of major hill crops has led to the development and release of 136 high yielding varieties of 17 crops. Of these, 71 have been released at state level for Uttarakhand state, 65 for the North Western Himalayan states and 28 for other part of the country also.
The most important accomplishments are listed hereunder:
More than 260 q truthfully-labelled seed has been produced during 2010-11 to 2014-15. In addition, about 1281.75 q breeder and 102 q nucleus seed of various improved varieties were produced during 2010-11 to 2014-15. As a result, high yielding varieties such as VL Gehun 829, VL Gehun 907 and VL Gehun 892 in wheat, Vivek QPM 9, Vivek Makka 31 and Vivek Maize hybrid 45 in maize, VL Dhan 208 and VL Dhan 62 in rice, VL Soya 47 and VL Soya 65 in soybean, VL Ageti Matar 7 in garden pea, VL Tamatar 4 in tomato, VL Mandua 324 and VL Mandua 352 in finger millet, VL Arhar 1 in pigeonpea and VL Masoor 126 in lentil have become popular in several states of the country, particularly in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim , Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
More than 14,648 native and exotic collections of 23 different field crops have been evaluated and many of these have been utilized directly and indirectly in different crop improvement programmes. As a result, a total 31 varieties in 11 crops have been developed comprising 19 varieties by direct use of local germplasm whereas, other twelve varieties have been developed through recombination breeding.
Marker assisted selection for quality protein maize
Maize endosperm consisting of approximately 9-12% protein is, however, deficient in two essential amino acids viz., lysine and tryptophan. The low nutritive value of maize is genetically enhanced and the biofortified form known as Quality Protein Maize (QPM) contains twice the amount of lysine and tryptophan coupled with protein of high biological value. Development of QPM germplasm through conventional plant breeding methods requires enormous time, labor and land/land resources since the opaque-2 gene, which is primarily responsible for the enhanced protein quality, is recessive in nature and its modifiers behave in a multigenic fashion. DNA-based markers hold great promise in accelerating the pace of conventional breeding procedures. At ICAR-VPKAS, we have successfully converted the inbreds of one of our hybrid into QPM inbreds through MAS and the reconstituted hybrid has been released as Vivek QPM 9. This hybrid has 40% higher tryptophan and 30% higher lysine as compared to original hybrid. The hybrid has been commercialized with 6 private seed sector companies for commercial seed production.
Marker aided pyramiding of blast resistance genes in hill rice
Deployment of host resistance is by far the most effective means of controlling rice blast caused by the fungal pathogen, Magnaporthe grisea. Gene pyramiding, which refers to the combining of two or more major genes for resistance in a single plant genotype is one of the novel strategies to increase durability of resistance. A molecular breeding program with blast resistance as its principal objective was undertaken to pyramid major genes viz., Pi-1, Pi-2 & Pi-9 in a popular variety VL Dhan 206. The pyramided lines, though sub-par in yield compared to the protected check VL Dhan 206, are serving as donor stocks for blast resistance genes.
Marker aided selection for pyramiding of yellow rust resistance genes in popular wheat variety vl gehun 738
Two yellow rust resistance genes Yr5 and Yr10 were pyramided in a popular wheat variety VL Gehun 738. The pyramided lines were tested in multi-location Initial Plant Pathological Screening Nursery (IPPSN). All the lines were found to be highly resistant to yellow rust. The background recovery was from 88.4 to 97.6 % in these lines. The yield potential varied from 39.57 to 49.64 q/ha as compared to 42.90 q/ha of the protected check VL Gehun 738.
Page Last Updated On : 11-07-2017