Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 31, 2005
Publication Date: January 15, 2005
Citation: Jauhar, P.P. 2005. Classical cytogenetics and modern biotechnology: an alliance for crop improvement. In: Ssymposium on Classical Cytogenetics and Modern Biotechnology, Calcutta, India, 1/24/2005. Meeting Abstract. on [CD ROM}. Technical Abstract: In this presentation, I discuss conventional breeding, classical cytogenetics, and modern biotechnology as applied to crop improvement, taking examples of mostly cereal crops. The art of “plant breeding” predates genetics and cytogenetics. Long before Mendel (1822-1884) – the founder of genetics – plant hybridizers, such as Kölreuter, Knight, Gärtner and others had produced, through careful and continual selection, improved strains of crop plants that sustain humankind. With the discovery of the laws of genetics and the advent of techniques of cytogenetics at the turn of the twentieth century, we moved from the art of plant breeding to the science of plant breeding. Any breeding activity is associated with or accompanied by restructuring of the cytogenetic architecture of the crop plant in question. With the rapid means of genomic reconstruction that became available, the process of plant improvement was accelerated considerably. Wide hybridization coupled with manipulation of chromosome pairing helped to introduce desirable traits from wild donor grass species into polyploid cereal crops. Specific examples of breeding for disease resistance using tools of classical cytogenetics are described. How we moved Fusarium head blight resistance from a diploid wheatgrass (Lophopyrum elongatum; 2n = 2x = 14; E genome), into desirable durum wheat (Triticum turgidum; 2n = 4x = 28; AABB) germplasm is explained. Modern techniques (such as fluorescent genomic in situ hybridization) of characterizing alien chromatin integrated into the durum genome are also described. The availability of tools of modern biotechnology, that allowed direct insertion of genes for value-added traits, has further helped the process of crop improvement. These techniques for genetic improvement of crop plants are described and fruitfulness of the alliance between traditional breeding, classical cytogenetics, and modern biotechnology is discussed.