Breakthrough in seed cloning of food crops

Hyderabad: Scientists from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and two other global institutes have demonstrated for the first time that food crops can be cloned through seeds by manipulating their genes.

The scientists demonstrated that `Apomixis technologies` (asexual reproduction of seeds) have the potential to revolutionise agriculture in ways that would benefit farmers in developing countries.

This path bearing research if successful can have a bearing on increasing food production, by fixing hybrid vigor said scientist Dr Imran Siddiqui, who demonstrated `Apomixis` on crop plants at CCMB.

Till now, it was not possible to produce seeds or crops without sexual reproduction but with this breakthrough, scientists claims that in future it could be scientifically possible to produce seeds asexually in food crops.

Disclosing this at a press conference here Dr C H Mohan Rao, Director CCMB and Group leader said that asexual reproduction in plants occurs in some non-food crop species.
He said the phenomenon of clonal seed formation, known as Apomixis, occurs in few plant species but not in food crops.

"But our research with other global institutions has shown that it is possible to engineer clonal seed formation in sexual plants."

The research being published in yesterday`s issue of Journal `Science` is a collaborative work between the research groups of Dr Imran Siddiqui of CCMB, Dr Raphael, Mercier Institute National Recherché de la Agronomique, France and Dr Simon Chan, University of California, Davis, USA.