The difficulty of comparing crops species for their “drought tolerance” is that “tolerance” is often confused with simple differences in plant water needs. For instance peanut develops a larger leaf area, has longer duration and higher yield potential than cowpea, but needs more water to fulfil its growth cycle. Both peanut and cowpea are considered drought tolerant, but each species fits specific environments where the rainfall and length of the growing season matches their water and duration requirement.
Millet plays different roles in food security. It remains a staple of millions among the poorest in both India and Africa. At the same time, its growing value in the food and feed industry offers opportunities for income generation. This economic value is evident in the growth in production in both regions, even if acreage has declined. While among the staples most adapted to harsh environments, productivity gains from increased and broad stress tolerance will be significant.
QTL & Genetics An important aspect in assisting the breeding programs involves generating the knowledge on genetic determination of traits of potential economic value. Once the information on relevant physiological mechanisms is transformed into the network of underlying genomic regions – quantitative trait loci (QTL) – and interactions of these QTLs are understood, such knowledge … Continue reading QTL & Genetics
Phenotyping After the given plant phenotype is reasonably understood and the potential economic value of the phenotype assessed in silico, ultimately, the tools enabling massive screening of such phenotype is inevitable to assist the breeding programs. To encounter the typical breeding population size and screen for the phenotype relevant for crop production improvement in target … Continue reading Phenotyping
Simulation Modelling Once the reasonable depth of understanding the physiological traits is attained, ultimately, the tool for value/risk assessment of such new technology within target agro-eco-systems is necessary. Reproducing the physiological traits in silico using modelling tools enables probabilistic foresight on mechanistic of physiological traits within the framework of target agricultural production systems and so allows … Continue reading Simulation Modelling
Trait Dissection Within team activities, dissection of physiological traits lay the baseline on which all other activities are built. We focus on understanding the range of plant adaptive mechanisms underlying the crop water usage which can potentially contribute to plant production advantage in various drought stress environments. Regulated dry down Transpiration response to VPD … Continue reading Trait Dissection
For us gems means GEMS, or G*E*M*S (genotype by environment by management by society) interactions, i.e. the fact that crop yields results from complex biophysical interactions while acceptance depends on farmer/consumer preferences. This complexity becomes an opportunity when it is cracked into components that can be analysed, understood, predicted, and then used to prioritise research investments to maximise return. This is what we do, and this is when GEMS become gems!
For us gems means GEMS, or G*E*M*S (genotype by environment by management by society) interactions, i.e. the fact that crop yields results from complex biophysical interactions while acceptance depends on farmer/consumer preferences. This complexity becomes an opportunity when it is cracked into components that can be analyzed, understood, predicted, and then used to prioritize research investments to maximise return. This is what we do, and this is when GEMS become gems!
A crop performs in different ways in different sites, years and agronomic managements. These are called genotype-by-environment-by management(G*E*M) interactions, and they are a main challenge for breeders and agronomists. There is one more layer of interaction, even more complex: the society (S). Farmers and consumers have different desires, needs, expectations, and a cultivar that fits one may not fit the other (G*E*M*S interactions). The puzzle is complex and challenging but if its components are understood, specific interventions can be undertaken.For instance, breeding for a particular genotype (G, with particular physiological characteristics), for a particular environment (E, with a particular kind of drought pattern that requires a specific adaptive trait), in a particular management practice (M, for instance a sowing density, or a N fertilizer treatment), and targeted to particular farmer/consumer (S, for instance a genotype that produces a lot of rich stover for cattle ranchers) is the need of the hour.