By Avijit Biswas
Bhagalpur: A model genome club, first of its kind in state would be established at Bihar Agricultural University (BAU), Sabour. A project to this effect involving expenditure of Rs 59.10 lakh has been sanctioned for the university under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), a central government programme for agriculture development.
The efforts of conserving plant diversity including traditional crop varieties of state is likely to get boost with establishment of model genome club at BAU. It is largely felt by members of university academic circle that conservation of plant diversity is important taking into consideration the old traditional varieties in number of cases are qualitatively superior in terms of grain quality besides creating resistance against disease and pest infestation.
With many such old traditional varieties also having useful medicinal, ornamental and industrial qualities, saving them from becoming extinct could pave way for their use as source/donor for developing new improved varieties, it is further felt.
Dr D R Singh, Vice Chancellor (VC), BAU, said to ensure genetic diversity of traditionally grown plant varieties could be scientifically used for developing new improved varieties their conservation is essential. Creation of awareness among people about protection and conservation of plant diversity besides Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) would help attain objective of using genetic diversity of plant varieties for gainful purposes, he added.
The VC said model genome club of university would serve as ideal center of state for training and creation of awareness regarding biodiversity and IPRs apart from doing needful for protecting and conserving plant varieties. He expressed hope the model genome club would significantly contribute in agriculture development of state.
The university it may be mentioned looks forward to initiate work of establishing genome club following receipt of final clearance of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
As per information available from university people engaged in conservation of old traditional varieties will be identified, trained and rewarded by genome club. In order to ensure the old traditional plant and crop varieties have an identity at national level, the genome club will work for documentation and digitalizing history, properties including genetic properties apart from distinguishing features if any of the plant varieties. Creating awareness about need of protecting and conserving plant biodiversity besides IPRs particularly among farmers, scientists, teachers, students of schools and colleges would be high on agenda of planned genome club.
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Writer Avijit Biswas, former principal correspondent of Hindustan Times Bhagalpur bureau, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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