Accelerated Genetic Improvement of Key Dryland Millets for Climate Change Adaptation

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code

D24016

CRP

2372

Approved Date

6 September 2023

Status

New - Collecting or Evaluating proposals

Description

Agriculture is facing the challenge of feeding the ever-growing population that is projected to reach ten billion by 2050. While improving crop yield and productivity can address this challenge, the increasing effects of global warming and climate change seriously threaten agricultural productivity.Millets can grow on arid lands with minimal inputs and are resilient to changes in climate. Millets are cereal grains with highly variable small-seeded grasses that belongs to the Poaceae family. These cereal grains are grown in warm regions with poor soils. They are major crops in the semiarid tropics of Africa and Asia. Moreover, their main advantage over other crops is that they are able to survive in less fertile soils, harsh environments, and droughts. Millet is grown for both human and animal consumption.
Millet grains are naturally gluten-free. They are rich in dietary fibres, proteins, minerals (iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous) and vitamins. Therefore, they are a good source of nutrition, just like fruits and vegetables. Millet can also improve digestion and fight against diabetes.  Millets have excellent water-use and nitrogen-use efficiencies that help them survive under water-deficit conditions in rain-fed regions, have a minimum dependency on irrigation and nitrogen fertilizers for better yield. Due to their nutritional superiority and climate resilience features, small millets can supplement staple cereal crops. They are rich in micro- and macro-nutrients, proteins, essential amino acids, dietary fiber, and resistant starch.
The objective of this CRP is to develop novel genetic stocks of key dryland millets using mutation breeding and biotechnologies to accelerate development of new varieties for food and nutrition security and climate-change adaptation. Up to ten research contracts are expected to be awarded and five no-cost agreement holders from advanced laboratories and research institutes with recognized expertise in the targeted technologies will be invited to share their experience with the contract holders and contribute to the development and validation of the planned technical packages. In addition, it is foreseen that two technical contracts will be awarded for services in advanced areas such as functional genomics, establishment of genetic association trait of interest, genomic selection and gene editing technologies. Coordination and technical management will be handled by the scientific secretary in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Section.

Objectives

To develop novel genetic stocks of key dryland millets using mutation breeding and biotechnologies to accelerate development of new varieties for food and nutrition security and climate-change adaptation

Specific objectives

To generate genetic diversity in selected millets with improved nutrition and quality traits, biotic/abiotic stress through induced mutation for better adaptation to climate change

To develop/adapt phenotyping tools for precise screening/selection of mutant lines with the desired of traits in selected millet crops.

To develop genomic tools for delivery of novel induced variation to accelerate genetic gain in millet improvement

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