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Commerce Secretary inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee Block and International Clone Museum of Rubber Research Institute of India
Kottayam, 17 March 2017
Ms. Rita Teaotia, Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee Block of Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), where Advanced Centre for Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (ACMBB) is going to function. She also inaugurated the second phase of International Clone Museum of RRII by planting a root trainer plant. She also had an interaction with the scientists and senior officers of the Board. Mr. A. Ajith Kumar, Chairman, Rubber Board welcomed the gathering and Dr. James Jacob, Director, Rubber Research Institute of India proposed a vote of thanks. Mr. Sanjay Chadha (Joint Secretary), Mr. Dammu Ravi (Joint Secretary), Mr. B Praveen (Director) from Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and Mr. N Rajagopal (Secretary in Charge, Rubber Board) also attended the meeting.
ACMBB conducts research on the molecular basis of genetic improvement of natural rubber trees and biotechnological interventions for developing Genetically Modified (GM) rubber using different genes of commercial importance. In addition to Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, ACMBB is doing research on Genomics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Physiology and Molecular Pathology. Studies being conducted at ACMBB aim at decoding the genetic code of natural rubber, and also at assessing the molecular basis behind high yield, faster growth, higher timber production, tolerance to diseases, tolerance to environmental stresses etc. Some of these studies are on the threshold of completion.
Developing clones that can yield more under increasingly challenging conditions is a continuous priority in agricultural research. Climate change, global warming, emergence of new pests/diseases, soil degradation etc. are becoming important challenges for productivity. It takes about 23 years of extensive field trials before a new clone can be released for planting. Results of studies at ACMBB will make developing a new high yielding, climate resilient and disease tolerant clone faster by at least 10 years.
The International Hevea Clone Museum inaugurated at RRII is a repository of advanced genetic resources from across the world. Through the multi-lateral clone exchange program under the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB), India has, during the last two years, imported 44 high yielding and disease resistant rubber clones from 10 different countries viz. Cambodia, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
All these clones in their respective countries of origin have either completed or are at advanced stages of field trials. They have high yield potential and disease tolerance.
Here, these clones will be directly evaluated for their field performance. These are highly valuable genetic resources and will be used in classical and molecular breeding programs. India is also planning to collect more wild accessions of rubber trees from the Amazon forests in Brazil and Peru to widen the genetic base of the breeding pool of this crop in India.