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Basmati genome data decoded, seeds of opportunity sown.

Date: 28-09-2016
Subject: Basmati genome data decoded, seeds of opportunity sown
CHANDIGARH: For the first time, the magic behind the aromatic basmati seed has been decoded. The Institute of Microbial Technology (Imtech) has sequenced the megagenomic data of microbes coexisting with basmati rice. With this, scientists have opened a big window of opportunity in this tiny white speck. They say that with access to such a data, there can be huge possibilities of new research to increase rice plant output and quality Megagenomics imply large-scale genetic data and sequencing of bacteria. One bacteria has around 5,000 genes and scientists at Imtech have sequenced genomes of 100 such bacteria. Imtech is one of 37 laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Re search (CSIR) in Chandigarh.
"The new data can also lead to research in using lesser resources like water and land to grow rice -a staple for almost half the world's population," said Prabhu B Patil, lead author of the study.

In India, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are major basmati cultivating states. India's export of basmati rice fetches between Rs 35,000 crore and Rs 40,000 crore annually.

"The data can be a boon for farmers if it can identify those microbes of the grain which makes the crop drought, disease and shattering (during harvesting 1015% of the grains fall off) resistant," said Rameshwar Singh, project director, Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Delhi.

It is believed that with the chemical and artificial treatment of rice, the original or native bacteria that coexisted with the plant had been suppressed. Exploitation of this genomic data might restore the native bacterial consortium as was in millions of years ago.

Plants are host to numerous microbes that co-evolved over millions of years. These natural microbes in turn aid development and protection of plants in diverse climatic conditions. "Analysis of bioinformatics by an expert can become valuable source for further research. Imtech has shown a new direction to the world. It is a breakthrough when the world is talking about food security," said Girish Sahni, director general CSIR.

Patil's group at Imtech has published the `The rice microbiome' in Frontiers in Microbiology. It is the first megagenome database of seed microbiome of any plant. "We have sequenced genome of bacteria found in basmati seeds. These bacteria would be contributing to boost rice's immunity to fight against diseases and other stressful conditions like less water etc," said Patil.

While genome data of many plants is available, the microbial megagenomic resource of only a plant weed -Arabidopsis thaliana was sequenced earlier. The data generated by Patil's group is the first megagenomic information of microbes associated with an economically important plant.

Samriti, who is the first author of the megagenomic study , along with Kanika Bansal, both PhD scholars associated with Patil at Imtech, is carrying forward this work.

Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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