Plant Breeding and Genetics - Previous Highlights

Tackling Coffee Disease with Nuclear Science. Coffee is the world's most popular drink. But coffee plants are being threatened by coffee leaf rust, a fungal disease found in most coffee-producing countries. The IAEA, together with the FAO and co-sponsored by OFID, is training scientists how to use plant mutation breeding to develop coffee plant varieties that are resistant to this disease. Watch Video »

Pulses for a Sustainable Future. An event to celebrate the International Year of Pulses (2016) took place this week at the Vienna International Centre. The year 2016 was declared the International Year of Pulses by the 68th UN General Assembly to help raise public awareness of the nutritional benefits and the role of pulses in sustainable food production. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture organized this event to highlight the role of pulses in enhancing the sustainability of agricultural cropping systems. Read More / Watch Video »

Plant mutation breeding enhance crop productivity and food security in drought-prone environments in Namibia. Agriculture is a major contributor to the Namibian economy and is highly correlated to growth and development. The country has semi-arid and arid climatic condition regions and is one of the driest countries of sub-Saharan Africa, consequently crop yields are severely limited by drought. The IAEA, in partnership with FAO, has supported the country’s national crop improvement programme helping to apply plant mutation breeding techniques to develop new mutant lines with high yield potential and enhanced tolerance to drought conditions for drought affected farms. Read More »

Climate Change Adaptation: Boosting Quinoa Production Using Nuclear Techniques. In the battle to help developing countries overcome threats from declining food production caused by climate change, one species of edible grain-like crop has caught international attention because of its unique nutritional value. New and improved varieties of quinoa, historically grown in the highlands of South America, will be made available to farmers in mutations adapted to challenging environments in Bolivia and Peru. Read More »

Plant Mutation Breeding Helps Bangladesh to Feed Its Growing Population. Villages in the northern region of Bangladesh used to struggle with poverty and hunger during the long months of the ‘monga’ periods, but they are now bustling as farmers and workers harvest new crop varieties developed using nuclear techniques. “‘Monga’ is a Bengali word meaning ‘starvation,’” explained Mirza Mofazzal Islam, Principal Scientific Officer and Head of the Biotechnology Division at the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA). It is used to describe the time between mid-September and mid-November and from March to April, when “there is no work for the farm workers. They suffer; they are foodless,” said Mofazzal Islam. Read More »

Can Gamma Rays Help Save the World’s Favourite Fruit?. ... A new research project, supported by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), will focus on the development of technology to speed up the breeding of disease-resistant banana and coffee plant varieties. Read More »

Sorghum Mutation Breeding for Improving Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses brought about by Climate Change. Mutation breeding has been successful in the Indonesian sorghum improvement program. It increases the added value of sorghum as food, feed, fiber and fuel source. The released sorghum mutant varieties have a big potential to increase marginal land productivity, improve soil fertility, stimulate sustainable agriculture development, promote economic growth, and ensure future food and energy security. Last but not least, sorghum is probably the most suitable crop for mitigating climate change. Read More »

World Wide Success in Mutation Breeding for Food Security. This year, the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. On the occasion of this milestone of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Achievement and Outstanding Achievement Awards were initiated to honor and appreciate the successes of Member States in plant mutation breeding ... Read More »

Induction, rapid fixation and retention of mutations in vegetatively propagated banana. A team of the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory at the IAEA Laboratories Seibersdorf has investigated the nature and inheritance of mutations that have been induced in shoot apical meristems of banana. They found out that genotypically heterogeneous stem cells resulting from mutagenic treatment are rapidly sorted to fix a single genotype in the meristem. The results among others will be useful to speed up the process of mutation breeding in vegetatively propagated crops. The story has been published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal and also was chosen for the journal cover. Read More »

Responding to the Transboundary Threat of Wheat Black Stem Rust (Ug99). Mutation activities target rust diseases with emphasis on Ug99 to contribute to an eventually broadened gene base for rust resistance. Mutant lines that have resistance to Ug99, once selected, will effectively counter the threat to global wheat and barley production, the menace of Ug99. Read More »

Improved barley varieties - Feeding people from the equator to the arctic. The weather conditions in the high Peruvian Andes, with their propensity for severe storms that bring with them high winds and hail, are not exactly hospitable for growing grains. But thanks to the work done by the Peru’s national agricultural research system together with the FAO/IAEA’s Plant Breeding and Genetics subprogram, barley varieties now exist that can be planted 3 000–5 000 metres up those mountains. These hearty grain improved varieties have become a lifeline for people who live at those altitudes, providing dependable as well as nutritious yields and now accounting for 90 per cent of the barley produced in Peru. Read More »

Successful Mutation Breeding Programmes in Vietnam. From the lab to the farmerVietnam is a developing agricultural country having 73.5% of its population living in the rural area. Crop production plays an important role in national food security and the rural development of Vietnam. Nuclear techniques have been applied in food and agriculture for improving national food security since the 1970’s. With continuous assistance in technology adaptation and transfer and capacity building from the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme (NAFA/AGE) through Agency’s CRPs and national and regional TCPs, great achievements have been made in mutation breeding for crop improvement by the use of nuclear techniques and related biotechniques. Read More »

Rice Mutation Breeding in China. Recent studies on Asian wild rice and land races of cultivars indicate that South Asia is most likely the main centre of origin of cultivated rice. Differentiation of the indica (hsien) rice would have occurred in South Asia, and that of the japonica (keng) rice in South-eastern and Eastern Asia. Full Story »

Transforming the Crop Production Landscape in Bangladesh: A High Yielding, Early Maturing Rice Mutant Variety is beating the Monga Food Insecurity Phenomenon. As in most tropical and sub-tropical regions, in Bangladesh, there is a season called Monga (October and early November) during which crops are still maturing in the field but grain stock is dangerously limited in the monsoon season. Full Story »

From the Lab to the Farm. Rice mutation breeding has never been so rewarding in Viet Nam. Farmers from the Mekong Delta to the highlands have been benefiting from higher yields and better market prices thanks to the high quality of the mutant varieties. In highland areas, farmers began stopping deforestation since they can now produce enough food on their land. Full Story »

Protecting Wheat Harvests from Destruction. Scientists are accelerating research into new varieties of wheat to identify those resistant to an aggressive fungus that is destroying harvests in African and Middle Eastern countries. An FAO/IAEA technical meeting brought together experts from 26 countries on a global plan against the disease, known as "stem rust", or Ug99. Full Story »

Flowers Blooming - A follow-up of a previous TCP in Thailand, THA/5/045. The IAEA had been working with Kasetsart University in Thailand on building capacities for plant mutation breeding through several TCPs. The most recent one, Radiation induced mutation for bean and chrysanthemum (THA/5/045), was completed in 2001. With the capacities built on these projects, the Gamma Irradiation Service and Nuclear Technology Research Center was established and is now providing services for scientists in Thailand. Full Story »

Improvement of Drought Tolerance in Chickpea through Induced Mutations. Under the umbrella of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), with the support of Technical Cooperation Projects (TCPs) and research networks (Coordinated Research Projects, CRPs) and hosted by the Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in Peshawar (NWFP and FATA Provinces), excellent work is being accomplished in terms of crop breeding, particularly in mutation breeding for sustainable increase in food security. Full Story »

Tanzania: Enhancing Crop Productivity through Radiation Technology. Two mutant rice varieties, resistant to the rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) were successfully released for cultivation in the inland of Tanzania and in the island of Zanzibar. They quickly gained farmer acceptance due to their high yield and quality characters. Full Story »

Juicy Tomatoes from Dry Cuban Soil. Having in mind the need to grow tomatoes under low water input conditions, not only to save this valuable liquid, but also to diversify production in drought-affected areas, a Cuban tomato breeding programme using nuclear techniques has produced varieties that are being adopted by the farmers and have made possible the increase of tomato production in several areas of Cuba with low input of water and fertilizers. Full Story »

Blossoming Ideas Creating Stronger Economies
In Thailand, a flower is more than an ornament; it is the country's symbol and the main source of income for thousands of families. With the help of nuclear technology to bring new colours and shapes to ornamental flowers, Prof. Siranut Lamseejan, at the Kasetsart University, Bangkok, has made a dream come true. Full Story »

High Quality Mutant Rice Varieties Widely Grown in Viet Nam
Mutant rice variety VND95-20 with high quality and tolerance to salinity became the key rice variety for export in 2005 ( 28% of the one million ha export rice area in the Mekong Delta). Full Story »

Indian Groundnut
Under IAEA/RCA Project RAS/5/40, in India, the total mutant series of TAG groundnut varieties (in the last 10 years, 10 varieties) has increasing success. TAG24 is the most popular, TAG38 the most recent mutant groundnut variety (2006). 45% of breeders' seeds are TAG varieties, mostly TAG24. Full Story »

Hardy Crops in Harsh Environments
One of the success stories in the use of induced mutations by a national agricultural research system in collaboration with the Agency's Plant Breeding and Genetics programme: Peru. Full Story »

Saving the Source of Chocolate: Ghana Targets Killer Virus
[...] This growing season (in late 2005) has gone well, with healthy harvests and no signs of the "swollen shoot" disease that has wreaked havoc on Ghana´s cocoa farmers for decades. Full Story »

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