We have observed that the 21st century agricultural sector has to embrace frontier technology to keep it vibrant and responsive so that the sector can keep on feeding the population addressing the confronting vulnerabilities with state of the art technology. One of the options of such technologies is the Biotechnology. This science has already advanced in many countries including India. However, North Eastern part of the country was not pursuing this science in a planned and systematic manner which is why Assam Agricultural University, the front runner Agricultural University in this part of the country, developed a proper plan of action with forward looking canvas of researchable issues and established a centre for plant biotechnology with funding and advisory services from the Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India.

The centre called DBT-AAU Centre has now completed 4 years pursuing, reviewing and redesigning various projects aimed at finding solutions to various biotic and abiotic stresses. The centre and the Dept. of Biotechnology of the University have already been credited for commercializing pod borer resistant transgenic chickpea. The centre is now searching for acid tolerant gene in the soil microbes, heat mitigation gene in rice germplasm using gene mining technology and the likes. The centre has also embraced the areas of biofertilizer and biopesticides. In addition to carrying out research in some of the most important areas in agriculture, the centre has also been facilitating Ph.D research within the four walls of the centre as well as supporting the students to conduct advance research abroad in addition to extending support to other aspirants working in biotechnology in different institutions to pursue innovative research.

From the goings of the centre, I have reasons to be extremely happy with its current shape and contribution and I am sure that in order to continue research in newer areas through biotechnology, the DBT-AAU centre will need constant support at least for another 5 years from the Dept of Biotechnology, Govt. of India for the greater interest of science and development of inquisitive and capable biotechnologists from this part of the country. I wish, the centre would bring many more laurels to the University, Dept of Biotechnology, Govt. of India and North Eastern Region of India using the hitherto unexplored gene pool of the region.

K M Bujarbaruah


Assam Agricultural University