Classical breeding played pivotal role in meeting the growing demand of food with increasing human population. Till the last1-2 decades, improvement of vegetable crops was limited with the application of classical genetic tools and conventional breeding approaches and resulted in development of numerous improved crop varieties with higher productivity and resistance to important biotic stresses. Availability of the cucumber whole genome sequence in the year 2009 and several other genome sequences in variety of vegetable crops in the next few years resulted in wider application of molecular tools in improvement of vegetable crops. Functional genomics became an integrated part of the vegetable improvement programme which complemented the classical breeding approaches in great way.
Rapid advancement in genomics with the advent of next generation sequencing resulted in their wide application in important vegetable crops. Development and application of molecular markers for economically important traits are of particular interest to manage the several emerging challenges in the era of climate change. Development of biotic and abiotic stress resilient cultivars is the key to sustain vegetable production in long term. Our lab is well equipped to discover the novel genes/ QTLs for economically important traits and to undertake the genomics assisted improvement programme in vegetable crops. Rapid development of homozygous inbreeds through induction of haploids, inter-specific/intergenic introgression of important traits from wild relatives through in vitro techniques is another objective to design smart crop varieties in vegetable crops.
Application of plant tissue culture-based tools in improvement of vegetable crops is well documented. In vitro based techniques like embryo rescue for successful inter-specific hybridization, induction of haploids and doubled haploids for basic genetic and genomics studies, in vitro based techniques for speed breeding are widely used in improvement of different vegetable crops. The wild relatives of the different crops are reservoir of several economically important traits and could play important role in development of future genotypes with resilience to the emerging and important biotic and abiotic stresses.
ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research
New Delhi - 110012
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