Saturday, December 22, 2012

Junior Research Fellow (JRF) Walk-in-Interview

Project: Genetic studies on selected rattan palms (Calamus sp.) using microsatellite markers

Applications are invited from suitable candidates for the selection of Junior Research Fellow (one) in the project entitled “Analysis of genetic diversity in selected rattan palms (Calamus sp.) using microsatellite markers” (A125) at Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Palode, Thiruvananthapuram. Details are given below:

Position & Vacancy: Junior Research Fellow (1)
Educational Qualification: Essential: First class M.Sc. in Botany or Biotechnology; Desirable: Experience in similar research projects
Emoluments: Rs. 10,000 pm (consolidated)
Age: 28 years
Project Tenure: Till March 2014

Those candidates who fulfil the above criteria may attend walk-in-interview on 31.12.2012 at 10AM. For further details refer to website:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Associative transcriptomics of traits in the polyploid crop species Brassica napus

Association genetics can quickly and efficiently delineate regions of the genome that control traits and provide markers to accelerate breeding by marker-assisted selection. But most crops are polyploid, making it difficult to identify the required markers and to assemble a genome sequence to order those markers. To circumvent this difficulty, John Innes Centre has developed associative transcriptomics, which uses transcriptome sequencing to identify and score molecular markers (SNPs) representing variation in both gene sequences and gene expression, and correlate this with trait variation. Applying the method in the recently formed tetraploid crop Brassica napus, the research team at JIC (Harper AL, Trick M, Higgins J, Fraser F, Clissold L, Wells R, Hattori C, Werner P, Bancroft I.) has identified genomic deletions that underlie two quantitative trait loci for glucosinolate content of seeds. The deleted regions contained orthologs of the transcription factor HAG1 (At5g61420), which controls aliphatic glucosinolate biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. This approach facilitates the application of association genetics in a broad range of crops, even those with complex genomes.

See the abstract at Pubmed

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tree fungus eats plastic

Students at Yale University made ​​discovered plastic eating fungi which are naturally growing on tree trunk in the Ecuadorian Yasuni National Reserve forests.

The students viewed the behavior of a few dozen symbiotic fungi to see the extent to which the plastic could break. These fungi were in herbaria at Yale University and in Ecuador, under certain circumstances, such as a constant temperature, stored in plastic bags. After two weeks, there was absorption by the plant material is visible. It was found that about half of the different species of fungi the plastic is fully able to absorb.

The plastic production has grown from 1.5 million tonnes in 1950 to 245,000,000 tons in 2006, 150 times as much, the students write in their motivation for the research, and production is still increasing, even though we all know that the waste of plastic is harmful to the environment. For that reason, they went looking for organisms that absorbing capacity. The beauty of some fungi, such as Pestalotiopsis microspora is that it can survive on only polyurethane plastic, and that in a omegving without oxygen. This means that this fungus can live on the bottom of landfills.

[Translated from Dutch]

Thursday, March 1, 2012

UKM Scientists Developed High Yielding Superior Red Rice

BANGI, 23 Feb. 2012 – After seven years of research UKM’s scientists with the cooperation of MARDI’s research officers have successfully produced a variety of rice which not only can increase padi yield but also has properties with low glycaemic index suitable for diabetics.

Its Plant Genetics and Biotechnology expert, from the Faculty of Science and Technology, Prof Dr. R. Wickneswari Ratnam assisted by some 14 other scientists from UKM, Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) , Malaysia Nuclear Agency (MNA) and UM had been doing research on this since 2002 and have succeeded in producing the new padi variant G33 named UKMRC9 which can increase local red rice production.

Prof Wickneswari described it as a superior red rice developed through conventional breeding involving controlled cross-breeding between cultivar MR219 and wild rice Oryza rufipogon. It involved the transfer of genes of the wild type to the common paddy produced by MARDI now extensively cultivated in the country.

She was assisted by Dr K K Sabu, Dr. Lim Li Sze, Dr. Atiqur Bhuiyan, Dr. Abdul Rahim Harun,  En. Parviz Fasahat, Puan Ngu Mee Siing, En. Abdullah M Zain, Puan Site Zuraini Abdul Rahman, Dr. Narimah Md Kairudin, Dr. Tilakavati Karupiah, Prof. Aminah Abdullah, Dr. Kharidah Muhammad, Chua Khun Aik and Tan Choon Heen in planning and carrying out the seven years of research.

In an interview with UKM News Portal, Prof Wickneswari said the cross-breeding was done manually. “We did not make any manipulation. We took pollen from the wild rice and pollinated it with the modern rice and used genetic markers to determine whether it was cross-bred or not.

“This was because there’s a possibility the cross-breeding did not materialise and we also wanted to know how much of the wild rice genes was transferred to the modern rice that we eat today,” she said.
Read full article
Read another report by The Star, Malaysian Daily

Monday, February 27, 2012

Association Mapping in Plants

Association (linkage disequilibrium [LD]) studies represent a novel powerful approach to evaluate candidate genes regulating plant phenotype and identify alleles of key interest at these genes. It is based on correlation between gene sequence and plant performance for target traits, and represent a powerful approach to evaluate candidate genes regulating the plant phenotype.

This new technique takes into account the thousands of genes to evaluate for QTL effect and is a more efficient approach that does not require generation of segregating populations/large numbers of progeny. As it can utilize all of the historic recombination events in a diverse population of individuals it can generate higher resolution genetic maps and, is needed to complement current map based cloning methods.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Identification and Validation of Quantitative Trait Loci for Agronomic Traits in Advanced Backcross Breeding Lines Derived from Oryza rufipogon × Oryza sativa Cultivar MR219

Ratnam Wickneswari, M. A. R. Bhuiyan, Sabu Kalluvettankuzhy K., Li Sze Lim, Michael J. Thomson, Md. Kairudin Narimah and Md. Zain Abdullah

A backcross breeding strategy was used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with 14 traits in a BC2F2 population derived from a cross between MR219, an indica rice cultivar and an accession of Oryza rufipogon (IRGC 105491). A total of 261 lines were genotyped with 96 microsatellite markers and evaluated for plant morphology, yield components and growth period. The genetic linkage map generated for this population with an average interval size of 16.2 cM, spanning 1,553.4 cM (Kosambi) of the rice genome. Thirty-eight QTLs were identified with composite interval mapping (CIM), whereas simple interval mapping (SIM) resulted in 47 QTLs (LOD >3.0). The O. rufipogon allele was favourable for 59% of QTLs detected through CIM. Of 261 BC2F2 families, 26 advanced backcross breeding lines (BC2F5) were used for QTL validation. These lines were selected on the basis of the yield traits potentiality in BC2F3 and BC2F4 generations. The field trial was conducted at three different locations in Malaysia using randomized complete block design with three replications. Trait based marker analysis was done for QTL determination. Twenty-five QTLs were detected in BC2F5 generation whereas 29 QTLs were detected in BC2F2 generation of the same population. Two QTLs (qPL-1 and qSPL-7) were not considered for validation due to their low R 2 values and two QTLs (qPSS-3-2 and qGW-3-2) were not detected in the BC2F5 population. Fifteen QTLs showed the beneficial effect to enhance the trait value of the breeding lines. QTL validation aided to select the promising lines for further utilization. [More details]

Backcross breeding – Composite interval mapping – Oryza rufipogon – Oryza sativa – QTL identification – QTL validation – Trait-based marker analysis

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