First EMBO conference on plant biology in India

Global scientists present cutting-edge research in crops

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 2: Faced with challenges of climate change, diseases, drought and pestilence adversely impacting crop productivity, renowned scientists and plant biologists from India and abroad today called for forceful technological interventions in plant research leading to adoption of sustainable agricultural practices for the benefit of farmers across the globe.

“There is need for advanced plant research especially in the area of spice genomics for crop improvement. For sustainable progress in agriculture, technological interventions in plant research that provide meaningful achievements in crop production have to be thoroughly explored and adopted,” Prof M. Radhakrishna Pillai, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology  (RGCB) said.

He was addressing a four-day international conference on ‘Micro and Metabolic Regulators in Plants’ organised by (RGCB) and European Molecular Biology (EMBO) here.

More than 30 acclaimed scientists from India and around 40 countries have converged here to deliberate on cutting-edge research in plant molecular biology. The four--day conference, which began here on Wednesday (Feb 1), is hosting over 120 delegates. 

Research in plants aimed at developing crop productivity and improvement of yield, especially in the face of challenges, has always been the preoccupation for plant biologists.

“The EMBO conference is a great opportunity to serve this purpose,” said a participant. “The conference gains significance because it is aimed at trashing out details of the basic plant studies which will in future be made available for applications for farmers.” 

Among the research abstracts being presented at the event include the one that explores how bananas, one of the world’s most popular fruits, respond to stress, in this case high salinity, in the environment.

Another study talks about enhancing the survival of rice crops which are  subjected to flooding during the seedling stage while yet another research studies development of rice florets on inflorescent branches, a fascinating study that holds the potential to growing new crops.

This is the first time that such a conference is being held in India.

It offers a platform for students and scientists from different areas in plant biology to come together and interact and exchange ideas and explore future collaborations.

On the first day of the conference on Wednesday, Dr Alain Goossens from Belgium delivered an insightful speech on engineering plant specialised metabolism while Dr Gordon Simpson from Scotland gave a keynote lecture on Arabidopsis gene expression.

The RGCB is a pioneer in Life Science research, especially in disease biology of plants, animals and humans.




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