security exists when all people, at all times, have physical,
social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious
food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for
an active and healthy life"(World Food Summit, 1996). India is a strong agriculture
based economy--going from food deficit to food surplus economy.
But, food production should increase up to 40% to take care
of increasing population over the next 25 years. Food insecurity
and vulnerability are major problems to cope with and may
become more critical in future if concerted efforts are not
made to overcome them. At the same time, the need of agri-sector
today is to produce agricultural commodities efficiently and
economically to a market-oriented clientele. The major agricultural
out-put being crop-based, it is highly desirable to generate
innovative ideas and develop capacity to apply them, along
with time-tested classical methods, for crop improvement.
a result of the discovery of double helix, fifty years ago,
and subsequent advent of recombinant DNA technology, a new
discipline of Genomics has come into existence. It pervades
all branches of Life Sciences and draws upon not only biological
concepts but also latest innovations in physical, engineering
and electronic sciences. The human genome sequencing project
can exemplify the emerging discipline in terms of serving
as a catalyst for conceptual advancement and understanding
molecular basis of human diseases for adopting novel strategies
for better health care. The area of Plant Genomics has similar
value for plant science and agriculture. The genome sequences
of Arabidopsis (a model plant) and rice (a model crop plant)
have vitalized the scientific community world-wide with fresh
hopes for discovery, innovation and application. In fact,
members of the faculty at South Campus (Professor Akhilesh
K. Tyagi, Professor J. P. Khurana, Professor P. Khurana) have
already contributed significantly to the International
Rice Genome Sequencing Project (IRGSP) as part
of the Indian Initiative for Rice
Genome Sequencing (IIRGS). Their activity forms
a nucleation point in India for several other national/international
programmes in the area of genomics. Delhi
University is a premier institution for education
and research. To cater to the emerging needs and provide leadership
in education and research, Delhi
University has already established Inter-disciplinary
Centres in areas of high priority like 'Genetic Manipulation
of Crop Plants' and 'Environmental Management of Degraded
Ecosystem'. It was, therefore, discussed and strongly felt
that establishing an Inter-disciplinary Centre for
Plant Genomics (ICPG) at South Campus is the need
of the hour. ICPG can draw upon over a decade long experience
of faculty in the area of plant gene discovery and genomics
as well as resources/infrastructure of IIRGS,
already available at South Campus. Active participation of
researchers from within the University and other institutions
would be a built-in component. The proposal provides in-put
on Plant Genomics in Service of Humanity, Research and Development
Areas, Resources and Infrastructure, Governance (as per ordinance
XV.A of Delhi University and concerned resolution in the meeting
of Executive Council on 17.12.2004) and Academic Expertise.
The ICGP would be able to serve as a catalyst for bringing
together multiple specializations to foster frontline research
and fulfill knowledge-based requirements of the society, in
the area of Plant Genomics and related disciplines.
Inter-disciplinary Centre for Plant Genomics (ICGP)
would endeavor for the following:
To seek and impart knowledge
To carry out frontline
research in the area of Plant Genomics.
To generate new ideas
for acceleration of the pace of progress in Plant Genomics.
To apply knowledge gained
from basic concepts in Structural and Functional Genomics
for crop improvement.
To foster nation-wide
network in Plant Genomics research through virtual lab concept
and serve as gateway for information.
To train and enrich human
resources in the area of Genomics.
To provide platform for
interaction at institutional and inter-institutional level
among scientists specializing in biology, chemistry, computer
science, engineering, mathematics, physics and allied sciences.
To bring together policy
makers, civil society and researchers for interaction and
need-based development of enabling technologies/information
in Genomics and their application.
To develop partnership
with entrepreneurs and people.
To act as an international
platform for collaborative research of national interest.