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Major Sponsored Researches Projects


Biofortification of wheat for micronutrients through conventional and molecular breeding approaches

Nearly half of the world population depending largely on staple food cereals is suffering from “hidden hunger”, the micronutrient iron and zinc deficiency which is more prevalent among infants, children, adolescent and child-bearing women thus adversely affecting their health and capacity to work. The iron and zinc content in the staple food sources is not only low but only a small proportion of the same is retained during processing and is bioavailable due to the presence of several endogenous and exogenous inhibitors such as phytic acid. The Department of Biotechnology, Govt. India has recently funded the above multi-institutional network project for biofortification of wheat for high iron and zinc content and low phytic acid using conventional molecular breeding approaches at a total cost of Rs 373.82 lakhs at IARI, New Delhi; IIT, Roorkee; PAU, Ludhiana; ARI, Pune and IARI, Indore. The quantitative trait loci (QTLs) controlling high iron and zinc uptake, transport and loading in the seed will be introgressed from the related progenitor and non-progenitor Triticum and Aegilops species into elite bread and durum wheat cultivars of India . The team of four scientists and a number of Research Scholars at IIT Roorkee led by Dr. H. S. Dhaliwal as the Principal Investigator has already identified a number of sources among the related wild species of wheat with 2-4 fold high iron and zinc content some of which have been crossed with appropriate recipient wheat and durum cultivars. Various molecular breeding and cytogenetic techniques will be used in subsequent generation for the precise transfer of QTLs for high iron and zinc. Phytic acid, the most important antinutritional factor capable of chelating iron can be degraded by endogenous phytase up to 75% through seed soaking without significantly deteriorating the processing quality.

Development of diploid wheat ( Triticum monococcum ) deletion lines for reverse genetics

The above sub-project has been funded by National Science Foundation of USA under the Developing Country Collaboration in Plant Genome Research project at IIT Roorkee and CCS University of Meerut at a total cost of US$ 96 628 for a period of two years from March, 2005. Under the project DEALING (Detecting Adduct Lesions IN Genomes) an important tool of reverse genetics will be used for annotation of genes of economic importance in diploid wheat Triticum monococcum . About 5000 M1 plants of a T. monococcum line DV92 treated with a deletogen diepoxybutane (DEB) are being grown for generation of M2 progenies which will be used for high throughput DEALING. Prof. G. S. Randhawa of IIT Roorkee has already received advanced training from North Dakota State University , USA during June-July, 2005 to train other scientists and students in India for undertaking the project effectively. There will be frequent exchange of Indian and US scientists and students under the collaborative project.

Sperm chemotaxis: investigations with bioactive peptides

Activation of the sperm motility and chemotatic behavior of sperm towards egg is the first communication between spermatozoa and egg in the events leading to fertilization. The nature of molecules derived from eggs by which sperm are activated and attracted to the eggs and the molecular mechanism underlying the sperm activation and chemotaxis have been investigated in only a few invertebrate species, sea urchins, ascidians and herring fish where fertilization is external. However, knowledge on this phenomenon has been ignored in mammalian species including humans. Therefore an understanding of the phenomenon is a prerequisite for progress of not only basic biology, but also clinical aspects. We hope to get valuable information from this project concerning the molecules to which sperm would respond. Identification of these molecules could open up new vistas in the development of reproductive healthcare products particularly in the areas of diagnostics and therapeutics of fertility related issues.