Biotechnological Approcahes to Crop Improvement in the Dry Areas at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas

  • M. Baum International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA). P.O. Box 5466, Aleppo. Syria

Abstract

At the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) biotechnology is included in the crop improvement and genetic resources program. Emphasis is given to the identification and exploitation of genetic resources of improved stress resistance, particularly improved water use efficiency. Non-radioactive DNA technology is being utilized for fingerprinting genetic resources. Numerous molecular-marker systems have also been used for genome mapping and gene-tagging. Markers have already been identified, to be linked with traits of agronomic importance. The technology available for using these markers for marker-assisted selection (MAS) has also greatly improved. Fluorescent-labeled allele-specific markers are being developed and can be used with automated sequencers to allow the screening of thousands of lines within a short period as required by breeding programs. The ability to use MAS to pyramid genes will make this technology an essential tool for breeders. Besides gene tagging and genome mapping, there is considerable effort to characterize the pathogen populations and to develop geographical distribution maps. These maps will allow the deployment of effective host-plant resistance genes. In vitro techniques are being used to overcome species barriers to introgress agronomic traits of wild species into adapted cultivars. Embryo- and ovule rescue techniques are being used for inter-specific and generic hybridization programs. Somaclonal variation is exploited from regenerants of Lathyrus explants to reduce neurotoxins in the plant and seed tissue. Doubled haploid breeding is being used when rapid solutions are required. Anther- and isolated microspore culture systems are being used for the development of doubled haploid lines for barley and wheat. DH breeding for the barley program is used to develop mapping populations for drought tolerance. DH breeding for the wheat programs is used specifically to introgress Hessian fly resistance for North Africa and yellow rust resistance into adapted germplasm. When variability for key traits is low, genetic engineering is being used to incorporate new genes into plant materials. Fungal and abiotic stress resistance is being engineered in chickpea in cooperation with the University of Hannover, Germany and insect and abiotic stress resistance is being engineered in lentils in cooperation with the Center for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA), Australia.
Key words: SSR markers, doubled haploids, genetic engineering, drought
Résumé
APPROCHES BIOTECHNOLOGIQUES A L'AMELIORATION DES RECOLTES DANS LES ZONES SECHES AU CENTRE INTERNATIONAL DE RECHERCHE AGRICOLE DANS LES ZONES SECHES (INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN THE DRY AREAS)
Au Centre international de recherche agricole dans les zones sèches (ICARDA), la biotechologie fait partie du programme d'amélioration des récoltes et des ressources génétiques. L'accent est mis sur l'identification et l'exploitation des ressources génétiques en tant que source de résistance améliorée aux pressions, notamment une amélioration dans l'utilisation de l'eau. La technologie ADN non radioactive est utilisée pour établir des systèmes de sélection basée sur des marqueurs. Des techniques in vitro sont utilisées pour surmonter la barrière des espèces afin d'introduire des caractéristiques agronomiques d'espèces sauvages dans des cultivars adaptés. La reproduction diploïde est utilisée lorsque des solutions rapides sont nécessaires. Lorsque la variabilité pour les caractéristiques clés est faible, le génie génétique est utilisé pour incorporer de nouveaux gènes dans les matières végétales.
Mots clés: marqueurs SSR, diploïdes, génie génétique, sècheresse

(Af. J. of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development: 2003 3(1): 39-44)
Published
2004-02-10
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358