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Volume 4, No.

4 August, 2009

w w w. b i o t e c h n e w s . i n

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E

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Department of Biotechnology
Ministry of Science & Technology Government of India

CONTENTS
106
To the Readers

S. Natesh

123 124 126 128 132 133 134

Bangalore Bio-Cluster
DBT and BHU

To the Readers
s you can see, the main feature of this issue is Bt brinjal, which was cleared by the Ministry of Environment & Forests' Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) in October 2009 for commercial use. Brinjal (also known as aubergine or eggplant), a member of the potato family, is believed to have originated in India and has been under cultivation in the country for over 4000 years. Currently, 1.4 million farmers, mostly poor and marginal, grow the crop on 0.55 million ha producing ~ 8.2 million tonnes of the crop. Every one of us who has sliced a brinjal will be familiar with the insect larvae that reside in the fruit, eating their way through tunnel-like holes. This insidious pest (Leucinodes orbonalis) also infests the shoot and is hence known as the fruit and shoot borer (FSB). Almost all brinjal cultivars are prone to infestation as there is no natural resistance. Attempts to induce resistance through traditional breeding have been met with limited success. Result: Almost 70% of the standing crop is damaged, lowering the marketability and edibility of the crop, not to mention income to poor farmers. Consequently, cultivators have been resorting to spraying chemical pesticides risking human and animal health and environmental safety. Enter Bt brinjal. Using the technology developed by Monsanto, Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco), an Indian seed company located in Jalna and two public-funded institutions, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UAS-D), have produced transgenic brinjal expressing Cry 1AC protein of the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The transgenic crop has been independently tested over two cropping seasons under large scale multilocation-field trials by Mahyco and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Results confirmed that transgenic brinjal requires 80% less insecticides than its non-Bt counterpart. This translates to 42% reduction in total pesticide spray, 100% increase in crop production, and a net gain of Rs 50,000-60,000 per ha to those growing Bt brinjal. More importantly, transgenic brinjal has been subjected to a battery of tests from the biosafety angle (toxicity, allergenicity, environmental safety and socio-economic assessment etc.) and the results have established that from all angles Bt brinjal is as safe as its non-Bt cousin. Although GEAC gave the green signal to commercial release of Bt brinjal, it will be some time before consumers can savour Bt brinjal at their dinner table. The Minister for Environment & Forests Shri Jairam Ramesh announced that the final government clearance will be given for commercial cultivation after public scrutiny of its biosafety aspects. In this issue we bring an insightful piece by P. Ananda Kumar who started work on Bt brinjal at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi as early as 1995. We also interviewed S&T and Earth Sciences Minister Shri Prithviraj Chavan on the safeguards and rigorous testing that has preceded GEAC's thumbs up to Bt brinjal. We do hope these will bring some clarity in the face of conflicting views expressed in the popular media regarding Bt brinjal. We also bring a feature of Mahyco, the main player in the Bt brinjal saga. K. Vijayaraghavan, Chairman, Satguru Management Consultants, has contributed a very interesting and thought-provoking article on life science innovations, the role of private public investment in channelizing these to developing economies and the process of ensuring enterprise creation through new products and processes. Taslimarif Saiyed of National Centre for Biological Sciences brings a first-hand report on how the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, a recent DBT initiative at the Bangalore Biocluster, is already fostering innovations in life sciences. We have also continued the series on DBT-University interaction through two write-ups on Banares Hindu University and Osmania University. Do write to us expressing your views on these and any other matter concerning life sciences/ biotechnology.

107 108 112 116 120

Reader’s Mail Cover Story
Bt Brinjal

A New Formation
D. P. Singh
DBT and Osmania University

A

A Pioneering Push
P. Ananda Kumar

Marching Together
T. Tirupathi Rao

Horse’s Mouth
Bt Brinjal

A Safe Breakthrough
Prithviraj Chavan

Profile Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company
Translational Health Science and Technology Institute

Feature
Innovation in Life Sciences

Where do Innovations Come From?
K. Vijayaraghavan

Report
Sixth Solanaceae Genome Workshop

Kaleidoscope
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms

Paving Way for Innovations
Taslimarif Saiyed

News Desk

READER’s MAIL
I am a regular reader of Biotech News and I have to admit that this is the first time I am writing to its Editor. I had to. Your current issue (5th October 2009) has just reached me and even a mere skimming over its contents (Gender Benders) has convinced me that “Thanks” are due to you and the contributors for what is certainly an issue to be preserved. It deals with a topic close to my heart and I hereby place my appreciation on record. Dr Sukanya Datta, Scientist (DG's Technical Cell), NISCAIR, CSIR. I have been regularly reading and enjoying Biotech News for several months now, and I was recently thrilled to see a headline reading “Gender Benders”. Surely the authors and editors realize the pertinent role women play in the world of science and technology. It would be highly unprofessional and offensive not to acknowledge them. This topic is really an intimate one and each and every woman can relate with it. The designing, layout and formatting plays its part by gluing readers to the pages for hours and that feeling cannot be expressed in words. Hence I place my appreciation on record. I sincerely hope that these kinds of topics should be included in the future, or at least contextualized for the epithets that they are. Madhusmita Ojha, Seashore Tourism Development Company Pvt. Ltd., Bhubaneswar-751 007, Orissa. I am a regular reader of Biotech News. The quality of the Biotech News is incredible. Moreover, it is always released with relevant and very interesting news useful for professionals and industries. Is it not possible for DBT to come out with this Biotechnology Journal by DBT itself ? It would serve the purpose of all biologists who are stakeholders in Biotechnology. GOOD WORK, KEEP GOING. Dr G. R. Janardhana, Dept. of Botany, University of Mysore, Mysore, Karnataka. Note from Editor: Biotech News is DBT's magazine. Entire policy, content and style are decided by DBT. Only the production, printing and distribution are outsourced.

S. Natesh Editor-in-Chief E-mail: natesh.dbt@nic.in

106

BIOTECH NEWS

VOLUME 4 | NO. 6

DECEMBER, 2009

BIOTECH NEWS

107

Bt Brinjal

A Pioneering Push

COVER STORY

Bt Brinjal

A Pioneering Push
P. Ananda Kumar
Diversity of brinjal in India Brinjal shoot damaged by BSFB larva

rinjal (Solanum melongena L.) (2n=24), commonly known as eggplant, aubergine or guinea squash, is an important vegetable crop of tropical and temperate parts of the world. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Besides being used as an important vegetable, eggplant has been exploited extensively in traditional medicine. Genus Solanum, to which brinjal belongs is predominantly of Central and South American origin. The question of center of origin of brinjal has been debated but is generally believed to have originated in India. Germplasm resources and collections have been well documented, evaluated and conserved throughout the world (see picture on pg.109). Based on fruit shape brinjal has been divided into three main types namely, egg-shaped (S. melongena var. esculentum); long slender shaped (S. melongena var. serpentium) and dwarf

B

type (S. melongena var. depressum). Brinjal has been cultivated for the last 4,000 years in India. Among the Solanaceous vegetables, brinjal is the most common vegetable crop grown in many geographical parts in India. Brinjal has become an intrinsic part of Indian folklore and tradition. The area under brinjal cultivation is estimated at 0.55 million hectares with a total production of 8.2 million tons (www.faostat.fao.org). About 1.4 million small, marginal and resource-poor farmers grow brinjal. It is an important cash crop for poor farmers, producing two or three crops, each of 150 to 180 days duration. Brinjal cultivars are susceptible to a variety of stress conditions which limit crop productivity significantly. The most important biotic stress factor that affects brinjal is an insect pest known as Brinjal Shoot and Fruit Borer (BSFB). Resistance to BSFB in brinjal

germplasm is not available. Efforts to impart pest resistance to the cultivated varieties have achieved only limited success due to sexual incompatibilities with the source species or wild relatives. BSFB causes significant losses of up to 60 to 70% in commercial plantings. Damage starts in the nursery prior to transplanting, continues upto harvest and is then carried-over to the next crop. BSFB damages brinjal in two ways. Firstly, it infests young shoots during vegetative phase which limits the ability of plants to produce healthy fruit bearing shoots, thereby reducing potential yield. Secondly, it bores into fruits during reproductive phase making them unmarketable (see picture on pg.109). Because of the cryptic nature of the pest the larvae remains hidden within the shoots and fruits rendering insecticide applications ineffective. Farmers usually spray insecticide twice a week, applying 15-40 sprays, or more, in one season depending on the levels of

infestation. As a result, pesticides level are high in the fruits, which is a matter of serious concern from a health perspective. On an average, 4.6 kg of active ingredient of insecticide per hectare per season is applied on brinjal at a cost of Rs. 12,000 per hectare. There is an urgent need to reduce the dependence on pesticides by using safer alternatives to manage insect pests. Many insecticidal proteins and molecules are available in nature, which are effective against agriculturally important pests but innocuous to mammals, beneficial insects and other organisms. Insecticidal proteins present in the soil borne bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which has demonstrated its efficacy as a spray formulation in agriculture over the past six decades, have been expressed in many crop species with positive results. The Bt proteins are packed in the form of crystals and when ingested by the insect larvae are processed to an active form in the highly alkaline larval gut. The active protein binds to a compatible receptor protein present in the gut cell

membranes resulting in perforations of the membrane and cell lysis leading to the death of the larvae. Human beings, other mammals and non-target organisms including beneficial insects do not contain receptors to Bt proteins and hence are not susceptible to Bt action Three Bt transgenic crop species (cotton, corn and potato) have already been commercialized with substantial benefits to farmers. So much so that in 2008 Bt crops occupied an area of 43 million hectares out of the global transgenic area of 125 million hectares. Bt cotton was commercialized in India in year 2002 and has been a spectacular success story. In a short span of six years the area under Bt cotton cultivation has increased from 0.02 million hectares to 8.0 million hectares. In 2008, India occupied the second position in terms of global cotton production by turning out 32 million bales of cotton. The benefits of Bt cotton include increase in yields, reduction in cost of production (including a reduction of at least 50% in

insecticide applications) and substantial environmental and health benefits to small producers. Reduction in the use of pesticides leads to lesser levels of insecticide contamination in aquifers, reduced farmer exposure to insecticides and improvement of human health, increased populations of beneficial insects, reduced risk for wildlife, reduced fuel and raw material consumption and decreased pollution. A similar effort is needed to replicate the success of Bt cotton in food crops to meet the challenges of food and nutritional security in the coming decades. As early as 1995, efforts were made by the author to develop transgenic brinjal expressing insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) of Bt. The transgenic lines were field tested on IARI farm which demonstrated limited protection against BSFB. Subsequently, an Indian seed company Mahyco developed transgenic brinjal expressing Cry1Ac protein of Bt. The best transgenic event 'EE-1' chosen out of several events showed a significantly lower number of

P. Ananda Kumar PhD is Director, National Research Centre for Plant Biotechnology, New Delhi 110012. (E-mail: kumarpa@nrcpb.org)

BIOTECH NEWS

VOLUME 4 | NO. 6

DECEMBER, 2009

BIOTECH NEWS

109

Bt Brinjal

Bt Brinjal

A Pioneering Push

A Pioneering Push

Bt CROPS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Sr. No. CROP ORGANISATION (S) Mahyco, Mumbai (Recommended for commercialization by GEAC in Oct 2009 meeting) TNAU Coimbatore, IVRI Varanasi, UAS, Darwad, IARI, New Delhi, Sungro Seeds Ltd., New Delhi Nunhems India Pvt. Ltd. Sungro Seeds Ltd., New Delhi Nunhems India Pvt. Ltd. Mahyco, Monsanto, Rasi, Nuziveedu, Anku r, JK Seed, CICR,UAS-D ICRISAT, Hyderabad Monsanto, Mumbai ICRISAT UDSC, New Delhi MAHYCO, Mumbai, Beejo Sheetal, Jalna ICRISAT, MAHYCO CPRI, Shimla, NIPGR, New Delhi MAHYCO, Mumbai TNAU, Coimbatore NRCS, Hyderabad IARI, New Delhi MAHYCO, Mumbai NIPGR, New Delhi TRAITS/GENE Insect resistance/ cry1Aa and cry1Aabc cry1Ac cry1Ac Insect resistance/ cry 1Ba and cry1CA Insect resistance/ cry1Ac, cry1Ba and cry1Ca Insect Resistance, herbicide tolerance cry 1Ac gene Virus resistance/ Chitinase gene Shoot borer / cry1Ab gene Insect Resistance/ Pod borer, Cry 1Ac Hybrid seed, barnase/ barstar gene Borer cry 1Ac , cry2Ab Pod borer and Fungal pathogene, Cry 1Ac and chitinase Ama1 and Rb gene derived from Solanum bulbocastanum cry1B-cry1Aa fusion gene cry1Ac, cry2Ab Rice chitinase (chi11) or tabacco osmotin gene Insect Resistance, Shoot borer Antisense replicase gene of tomato leaf curl virus cry1Ac
Compiled by Dr. K. S. Charak, DBT

1

Brinjal

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Cabbage Cauliflower Cotton Groundnut Maize Chickpea Mustard Okra Pigeon pea Potato

A

AB

C
A: Fruits of non-Bt and MHB 10 Bt B: Brinjal fruit damaged by BSFB larvae C: Brinjal without Bt D: Brinjal with Bt

D

12 13 14

Rice Sorghum Tomato

BSFB larvae (0-20) on Bt brinjal, as compared to 3.5-80 larvae on the non-Bt counterpart. Multi-location and large scale trials (2004-2008) conducted by Mahyco, and independently by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research under the All-India Coordinated Research Program for Vegetable Crops confirmed that insecticide requirement for Bt brinjal

hybrids was, on an average, 80% less than the same for the non-Bt counterpart. This not only translated into a 42% reduction in total insecticides usage, but also an increase of 100% in the average marketable yield of Bt brinjal compared to its non-Bt counterpart hybrids. It has been estimated that Bt brinjal farmers would enjoy a net gain of Rs. 50,000-60,000

per hectare compared to those cultivating conventional varieties. Bt brinjal 'Event EE-1'has been subjected to a rigorous biosafety regulatory process encompassing all aspects of toxicity, allergenicity, environmental safety, socio-economic assessment etc. Studies on food and feed safety conducted on rats, rabbits, fish, chicken, goats and cows have

confirmed that Bt brinjal is as safe as its non-Bt counterpart. Similarly, environmental impact assessments to study germination, pollen flow, invasiveness, aggressiveness, weediness and effect on non-target organisms were also carried These confirmed that Bt brinjal behaves in a similar way as its non-Bt counterparts. Two expert committees constituted by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) have analyzed the biosafety data thoroughly and deliberated upon the representations made by various stakeholders including scientists and NGOs. Based on the observations made by the Expert Committees, GEAC has approved the environmental safety of Bt

brinjal 'Event EE-1' on October 14, 2009. The 'Event EE-1' has been transferred to brinjal varieties that are popular in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, by the scientists of the Agricultural Universities at Dharwad and Coimbatore, respectively. Indian Institute of Vegetable Research at Varanasi has also introgressed the event into its varieties. Mahyco has donated Bt brinjal technology to public sector institutions such as the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of Philippines and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute in Bangladesh, an effort facilitated by the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSP II) of the Cornell University, USA.

National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology at New Delhi has developed a very effective event (Event 142) in brinjal cv. Pusa Purple Long and licensed it to private seed companies viz., Bejo Sheetal, Krishidhan, Nath Biogene and Vibha Seeds under Public Private Partnership. Hybrids containing Event 142 are currently undergoing biosafety tests and field trials. In conclusion, cultivation of Bt brinjal will be a great boon to the resource poor vegetable farmers of India. This will go a long way in reducing pesticide usage in agriculture thus protecting human health, biodiversity and environment.

110

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DECEMBER, 2009

BIOTECH NEWS

111

Bt Brinjal

A Safe Breakthrough

HORSE’S MOUTH

Bt Brinjal

A Safe Breakthrough
With environmental clearance from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in place, BtBrinjal has taken an important step towards its widespread cultivation. As is expected, a variety of views, supportive as well as those advocating caution have been expressed regarding the introduction of Bt-brinjal. These concerns carry additional urgency given the fact that brinjal, unlike Bt-cotton, is a food crop bringing in additional issues like consumer choice and labeling. Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State (IC) for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India spoke exclusively to Biotech News to highlight the safeguards and rigorous testing that has preceded the GEAC nod to Bt-Brinjal, as well as to allay fears of any downsides to its commercial release.
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BIOTECH NEWS VOLUME 4 | NO. 6

BTN: Will Bt-brinjal really benefit farmers and consumers? Can you clear the air on the variety of views and opinions that have been expressed in the media, of late?
Prithviraj Chavan (PC): Brinjal is a widely consumed vegetable crop in the tropics with India contributing 20% of global production just behind 30% of China. The crop is ravaged by the Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer, or BFSB, the most widespread and devastating pest in India and South and Southeast Asia with infestation inflicting about a 70% crop loss. The larvae feed inside the brinjal shoot and fruits, retarding the vegetative growth of the plant and decreasing the marketability and edibility of the fruit. Countless attempts to crossbreed brinjal varieties with BFSB-resistant wild varieties have been unsuccessful forcing the farming community to rely heavily on chemical pesticides for pest control. The pest population has gradually become resistant to chemical inputs compelling the farmers to resort to combining chemical pesticides, risking human health and the environment in a bid to control the insect.
B.thuringiensis (Bt), a spore-forming bacterium produces crystal proteins (called Cry proteins) which are toxic to many species of insects, including BFSB. When Bt protein is ingested by the insect, it gets activated in the high pH environment of its gut and perforates the lining of the gut, in the process annihilating the insect. The main advantage of this technology is that it reduces the use of chemical pest control making the technology safe for the environment as well as human consumption.

Bt brinjal is based on developing insect resistant crop using Cry1Ac protein from B.thuringiensis. Studies show Bt Brinjal requires 70% less insecticide for control of BFSB and 42% less for control of all insects. In addition, yields show a 116% increase in marketable fruit volume and a 166% increase over open-pollinated varieties. Lower pest control costs and higher yields translate into an additional income of Rs. 16,000 - 19,000/acre to farmers, approximately Rs. 2,000 crore for the country as a whole. Remarkable success of Bt cotton in India, which now occupies 80% of the total area of 9.4 million hectares has clearly demonstrated that adoption of biotechnology can significantly contribute to alleviation of poverty and hunger. In that context, I am sure that development of Bt brinjal, the first biotech vegetable crop, is appropriate and timely.

short term studies. The insecticidal protein is therefore, the safest transgene product for human beings. Coming to specific case of Bt brinjal, I understand that it has been tested rigorously over the last nine years and has been found substantially equivalent to its non-Bt brinjal counterparts, except for an additionalgene-cry1Ac which expresses Cry protein effective only against very specific target insect in this case BFSB. Cry protein is absolutely safe with respect to all other living organisms including other insects, animals and human beings alike. GEAC has evaluated Bt brinjal for its efficacy and safety as per the protocols and procedures prescribed under the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s (MoEF’s) Environment Protection Act 1986 and Rules 1989 as well as DBT's own biosafety norms. GEAC (MoEF) and Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) of DBT have jointly developed protocols for each test, closely monitored progress and ensured compliance during the testing of Bt brinjal. Bt brinjal has been tested extensively at various public sector institutions and nationally accredited laboratories with very good GLP track records in collaboration with Mahyco. Two independent Expert Committees namely the “Expert Committee (EE-I) on Bt brinjal” and “Expert Committee (EE-II) on Bt brinjal Event-I” were set up in 2007 and 2009 respectively to analyze, review and scrutinize biosafety data generated on safety and efficacy of Bt brinjal. Technology developers were asked to strictly adhere to the directives of Hon'ble Supreme Court and ensure compliance.

BTN: Biosafety is a major concern. How has this aspect been tackled in case of Bt brinjal? PC: Bt crops have been grown around the
world since 1996 without any reported adverse health implications. The Cry1Ac protein inserted into Bt brinjal has been extensively studied for its safety. It has been well established that the Cry1Ac protein cannot cause any toxic effect in mammals because of lack of highly specific receptors and acidic environment in the gut. Cry1Ac protein has a history of safe use for human and animal consumption as GM crops containing cry proteins including Cry1Ac protein have been consumed by millions of people without any adverse effects. Cry1Ac protein has shown to be rapidly degraded (in 30 seconds) in simulated digestive fluids and thus is not detectable even in

DECEMBER, 2009

BIOTECH NEWS

113

Bt Brinjal

A Safe Breakthrough

CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Multi Location Research Trials (MLRT) from 2004 to 2006 were conducted by ICAR and Mahyco separately to generate independent and unbiased data on field performance and assess effect of Bt brinjal on environment. The Large Scale Trials (LST) were assigned independently to Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), Varanasi from 2007 to 2009 to generate agronomic performance data, examine efficacy of Bt brinjal on fruit and shoot borer and assess environmental impact. GEAC's independent Expert committee (EE-II) responded to concerns and queries raised by various stakeholders. Tests conducted so far in various models involving birds, fish, chicken, rabbit, rats, goats and cows have showed no signs of toxicity. Studies have also been conducted for protein expression and quantification, substantial equivalence, nutritional composition and protein estimation on cooked food. All these studies have concluded that Bt brinjal causes no adverse effects when consumed by human, animals, non-target organisms and beneficial insects. In fact, Bt protein was not even detectable in cooked brinjal fruit. Moreover, the government is actively working on to set up a National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (NBRA) in the first quarter of 2010, which will ensure that strict scientific assessments are followed while testing of biotech crops. The authority is yet to be passed by our Parliament. Once in place, it will help in a way that biotechnology policies are strictly based on scientific assessment of risk and not on any sloganeering and campaigning by public interest groups. develop and generate hybrid Brinjal events. The Bt cry1Ac-gene technology was sublicensed by Mahyco to several public institutes in India and South/Southeast Asia. In India, the public institutional partners in the consortium are the IIVR; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and the University of Agricultural Sciences , Dharwad. 2010, they propose to have a series of consultations with scientists, agriculture experts, farmers' organisations, consumer groups and NGOs on the subject. The decision will be made only after the consultation process is complete and all stakeholders are satisfied that they have been heard. The GEAC decision was based on the recommendation of an expert committee, and the committee's report is being made public on the MoEF’s website for citizens to comment upon.

Biotechnology Industry Partnership Program (BIPP)
(An Advanced Technology Scheme)
DBT invites proposals from Indian Biotechnology Companies under the Biotechnology Industry Partnership Program (BIPP), a government partnership with industry for support (on a cost sharing basis, mainly for viability gap funding and enhancing existing R&D capacities) for development of novel/ high risk futuristic technologies through varying models of grants, loans or grant cum loan. BIPP has been initiated under Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Program (BIRAP), a unique initiative of DBT being implemented in partnership with Associtaion of Biotech Led Enterprises (ABLE) and Biotechnology Consortium of India Limited (BCIL) to nurture R&D and innovation in the Biotech Industry. BCIL is the BIPP Management Agency and will ensure maintenance of strict confidentiality of the proposals as per DBT norms. Key Features of the Program Support Large, medium, small scale industry, start ups on cost sharing basis High risk, discovery linked innovation Accelerated technology development Evaluation and validation of biotech products Indigenous discovery, innovation and technology to products Products of national relevance or public benefit Who can apply? A single or consortia of Indian “for profit” company(ies) small, medium or large having DSIR* recognized in-house R&D unit(s). An Indian company is defined as one which is registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956 in which more than 51% of the ownership is held by Indian citizens (including NRIs). The proposals can be submitted: Solely by the Indian Company; or Jointly by the Indian Company and National R&D Organizations and Institutes; or By a group of Indian Companies along with National Research organizations etc. (* The companies who are in the process of obtaining DSIR recognition may also apply along with the proof of application to DSIR. However, the final decision on such applications would be subject to their getting DSIR recognition.) Eligible Categories Category I:Area in health, agriculture, energy and environment with major social relevance but uncertain market driven demand. Category II:High risk, discovery innovation research including in the area of Biosimilars with relevance for making India globally competitive. Category III:Evaluation & Validation of already developed products of high National Importance promoting local innovation. Category IV:Shared cost for major infrastructure facilities, critical for enabling innovation. How to apply? The Companies should submit a detailed proposal as hard copies (6 copies; 1 original + 5copies) and a soft copy in CD (MS Word file-20032007 compatible mode, PDF version will not be accepted) strictly in the prescribed format available at DBT website to the following address, on or before 31st December 2009: The Managing Director Biotech Consortium India Limited 5th Floor, Anuvrat Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, New Delhi 110 002 Tel.: +91 11 23219064-67 Fax: + 91 11 23219063 Email: bipp.dbt@nic .in For more details, please contact: Dr. Renu Swarup, Advisor In charge BIPP, Department of Biotechnology, Block No: 2, 7th Floor, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi110003, India. Email:swarup@dbt.nic.in Last Date for submission of Proposals 31st December 2009 Detailed guidelines for the scheme including eligible project categories to be supported are available at http://dbtindia.nic.in/AboutBIPP.pdf

BTN: There is no labeling regime for GM foods in India. Doesn't that deny the consumers the choice regarding consuming or rejecting GM foods? PC: Labeling of foods containing
ingredients produced through the use of modern technology is a complex issue. Crops derived through biotechnology are thoroughly evaluated for food safety, including allergenic potential and nutritional content. Existing evidence suggests that among the developing countries with labeling policies, most have not effectively implemented their regulations, whereas, in developed countries mandatory labeling regulations have resulted in no additional consumer choice or information. Mandatory labeling may result in a higher price for food for consumers in order to meet compliance obligation expenses to food companies. Therefore, it is neither possible nor feasible to label brinjal fruits as GM or non-GM. Since labeling laws are being formulated by the Food Safety and Standard Authority, it is advisable to adhere to labeling regime that is based on the nutritional composition of product and not on the process used to develop the product as long as the product has been determined as safe.

BTN: India is the center of origin of brinjal. What are your views on impact of Bt brinjal on genetic diversity of brinjal? PC: The crossability of different species
of brinjal in India has been studied and reviewed. I am given to understand that there is no natural crossing among cultivated and wild species of brinjal including S. incanum and S. insanum. Under forced crossing situations, even if crossing was possible, the viability and subsequent development of stable crosses have not been successful. Particularly in case of S. incanum, the crossability studies have been repeated by Indian Institute of Vegetable Research. It has been indicated that there was very limited crossing when S. incanum was used as female parent, whereas in the earlier study (2007-08), no crosses could be obtained. It can be concluded that gene flow from S. melongena to wild relatives of brinjal is not possible under natural conditions. Therefore, commercial release of BT brinjal will not in any way affect the genetic diversity of brinjal and its wild relatives. In practice, there are a selected numbers of varieties and hybrids which are popularly grown by farmers to suit consumer's preferences in each zone. The main responsibility to conserve, characterize and utilize diverse germplasm of brinjal lies with our scientific community in developing high yielding and more nutritious varieties by harnessing the potential offered by biotechnology.

BTN: Who are the partners in developing this technology? PC: Bt brinjal has been developed by
Mahyco-one of India's leading private sector hybrid seed companies, which has the license for use of Bt cry1Ac gene technology for insect-pest management from Monsanto, USA. This licensed cry gene technology was used by Mahyco to

BTN: When will the final decision for commercial sale of BT Brinjal shall be taken? PC: The GEAC has already declared Bt
brinjal Event EE-I safe and recommended the approval for commercial release in its last meeting held in October, 2009 and submitted their recommendation to MoEF. During January and February

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115

Innovation in Life Sciences

Where Do Innovations Come From ?

FEAT URE
Source of Technology
PART I COUNTRIES AND DOMESTIC Universities Public Research Institutions Corporations

Pooling of IP & know how

COMMERCIALIZATION PLATFORM (GOVERNANCE & MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE)

INVESTORS & FUNDERS
National research investors Multilaterals / bilaterals Foundations Enterprises

Innovation in Life Sciences

Listing fees Subscrptions

Where Do Innovations Come From?
K. Vijayaraghavan

WAREHOUSING UPSTREAM & PLATFORM TECHNOLOGIES (D)

SUPPORT PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & TRANSNATIONAL RESEARCH PLATFORMS (D)

NATIONAL CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT (D)

FUND DEVELOPED TECHNOLOGIES FOR COMMERCIALIZA TION THROUGH BIPP/SBIRI (C)

Out licensing

ENTERPRISES/ ENTERPRISE NETWORKS WITH RESEARCH CAPACITY. (D)

UNIVERSITIES & GOVERNMENT LABS (D)

GLOBAL NETWORKS WITH DOMESTIC PARTNERS (D)

SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES with inadequate research capacity (C)

BENEFIT FLOW AND SHARING

Revenue share of royalty Fee based income Interest collections and equity gains from quasi commercial funding. Socio economic contributions

COINVESTMENT & SCALEUP
Local Banks (C) VC (C) SME Funds (C)

©Vijayaraghavan - Cornell - Sathguru

WHERE WOULD TECHNOLOGIES COME FROM?

ife science innovations have surpassed every other discipline to unearth the nature of plants, animals and humans. This has been due to the rapid generation of new knowledge resulting from a convergence of various disciplines of science. Initially, North America and parts of Northern Europe took the lead in inter-disciplinary research for life science innovations. The human and plant genome research projects have brought billions of dollars of public funding to research labs in the US for up-stream research in genomics and proteomics applying advanced bio-informatics tools. The advancements in bio-engineering with high throughput sequencing, screening and synthesizing have considerably shrunk the time for identifying and synthesizing potential genes and compounds. However, most of the advanced research efforts till now have only

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confined to a few countries. In the International Finance Corporation (W)World bank parlance, these are Part I countries that are currently investing a high percentage of their GDP in cutting edge frontier research. The public and private enterprises in these countries generate a significant volume of new knowledge and protect them through patents, trade secrets and copy rights. Currently over 70% of platform technologies in life sciences are protected by just five countries (which invest over 80% of the global research investment in life sciences) through patents, trade secrets and other forms of intellectual assets protection.

in the private sector. While global research institutions of repute generate several upstream technologies, they may not have the resources and/or the ability to validate these technologies through the translational phase and apply them in a wide range of market relevant products. The translational phase is resource intensive, time consuming, has a potential risk of failure and requires large investments. In many instances, the patents generated by national research organizations are also licensed to large multinationals with exclusive technology access, thereby preventing technology access to Part II countries. The exclusive licensing arises many times due to the fact that several of these technologies require costly research for their translational validation prior to successful marketing. Since time is of the essence for commercializing these technologies, the urge to license to large

corporations in advanced markets results from a lack of alternative avenues for academic institutions to take these technologies through the translational phase. Advanced technologies generated by global research systems are also constrained due to the fear of irresponsible use of technology without proper stewardship. Many countries do not have adequate protective mechanisms for technologies. All these constraints limit the ability of vital technologies to have global access.

WILL THE TECHNOLOGIES REMAIN CONFINED TO ONLY A FEW COUNTRIES?
Not really. The economic growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) and other middle income economies such as Israel, the ASEAN region, South Africa and some of the CIS nations provide attractive market opportunities for the entry of global corporations with innovative products. The attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has prompted some global corporations to engage in

WHY ARE WE NOT IN A POSITION TO ACCESS VITAL TECHNOLOGIES?
The vital technologies that are needed for application research are generally protected by large national research institutions and universities based in Part I countries and multinational companies

“enterprise-to-enterprise” level technology transfer. Some of these engagements have necessitated unlocking prior commitments of exclusivity in licensing in order to encourage local enterprises to engage in product commercialization. Such opportunities have arisen in agriculture (vital traits for new seeds development such as Bt cotton), animal and human health (preventive, therapeutic and diagnostic products). While these technologies have appreciably changed the landscape of innovation within the private sector, they have not provided a sustainable capacity for research within the emerging economies. These countries have been able to introduce current generation products but have not attained the ability to develop next generation products.

following issues:
Intellectual assets pooling within a responsible and legally enforceable mechanism of IP protection. Investment in frontier research capacity across the national research organizations. Investment in translational platforms that can help to validate products and their efficacy. Enterprise development support for private sector to engage in generation and application of novel solutions for products.

These mechanisms help to create the vibrant eco system that would help to generate new inventions and apply them for developing innovative products that would address the need for next generation solutions.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN THIS PROCESS?
While in most emerging economies there has been a spurt in research investment within the public sector, such investments have predominantly focused on creating basic research infrastructure and broadening the research agenda to cover wider areas of research needs that

HOW DO WE THEN INTRODUCE NEXT GENERATION PRODUCTS TO EMERGING ECONOMIES?
Engagement in next generation research would require creation of a comprehensive eco system that addresses

K. Vijayaraghavan Ph.D. is Chairman, Sathguru Management Consultants, Vice Chairman, Cornell Sathguru Foundation for Development. (E-mail:vijay@sathguru.com)

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Innovation in Life Sciences

Innovation in Life Sciences

Where Do Innovations Come From?

Where Do Innovations Come From?

are nationally or regionally relevant. Generally, the private sector has lagged in this endeavor because of their inability to raise requisite capital and to foresee returns on such capital in a shorter time frame. Investments in isolation in public institutions have resulted in the creation of islands of excellence with complete disconnect from the translational platforms that can convert results of basic research to innovative products. The research investment in public institutions have also suffered from a lack of access to vital technologies and protected biological materials, without which the research results could take several years to accomplish. Most public institutions do not have the process or the capacity to acquire protected technologies that are generated in Part I countries. The negotiation capacity is limited and several of such public research institutions might approach the same source for in-licensing, without a central agency effectively negotiating broad spectrum licensing.

transfer agreements with skilled researchers abiding by best practices in research and product validation. The BRIC countries and South Africa are some of the countries that have begun to realize this potential for collaborative global partnerships. China has taken an aggressive approach to license frontier technologies from global research organizations in order to further advance those technologies into application products. China has also contributed to global consortium with significant co-investment commitments in order to partake research results emanating from such multi-country research partnerships. It aims to double its agriculture output in the next twenty years and this is achievable due to extensive Chinese engagement in global research platforms to address plant yield improvement solutions with reduced application of natural resources. The Chinese Government has announced its intention to commit annually over $ 300 million for generation of intellectual assets and their protection in agriculture biotechnology with focus on identification of Plant Genes of potential value in conferring desired traits in economically important crops. Chinese leadership on more than one occasion stressed the desire of the nation to match the power of the western world in development, introduction and commercialization of genetically engineered crops. Similar efforts have been initiated by Chinese Government to engage in health care research that would address health care needs of the country.

HOW DO WE THEN EFFECTIVELY POOL IP FOR PUBLIC RESEARCH INVESTMENTS?
The research planners in some of the countries have begun to overcome this hiatus through bilateral and multilateral consortium based approaches wherein countries pool their resources and bring in global developmental investors to coinvest in economically and socially relevant research areas. The members of the consortium develop a common research hypothesis, pool their intellectual assets and agree to engage in responsible translation and application of research results for their own country's needs. However, such an effort is not an easy process and requires foresight on the part of science planners, professionally skilled technology managers, to structure the technology

products that are relevant and cost effective in a competitive market environment. Translational research also would require a larger number of private enterprises engaged in a competitive spirit of innovation and commercialization. Translational research platforms are a vital link to validate great science into great products that are relevant, competitive and consumer worthy. South East Asian countries have established research platforms in semi-conductor based technologies several years ago and have gained supremacy in penetrating global markets in electronics and communication products. India, China, Israel, Cuba and Thailand have realized the potential for creating translational research platforms in health for advancing bio medical research results. Such efforts would require extensive public investment support in providing access to common research infrastructure to the public and private entities. Apart from providing vital funding during pre-seed, seed and commercialization phase of product development, these efforts should also provide mentor access to enterprises that are in requirement of expert guidance and technology management handholding support in the form of IP protection and technology licensing advisory. The holistic intervention also helps to provide vital recognition and goodwill gain to start-up enterprises which otherwise suffer from an identity crisis. Translational research platforms in the USA have spurned around the knowledge generation networks. Large research focused universities such as MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Harvard etc. have created highly successful translational research networks around their regional presence. This has helped them all to accomplish high levels of commercialization success for their

inventions and immense gains from royalty results from such commercialization.

IS IT ESSENTIAL TO PROVIDE RESEARCH FUNDING AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT FOR PRIVATE SECTOR?
Emerging enterprises and home grown large corporations would essentially require their capacity to be enhanced significantly in order to engage in global collaborative research. This calls for national level public investment in building private sector research capacity. Over several decades of investment by USA, the private sector in the country has gained global leadership in innovation generation and commercialization. Over the years, the investments have triggered capacity building within the private sector through funding mechanisms such as Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI) and creation of world class incubators for access by the private sector with investment from federal and state government. The private sector has returned the contribution through taxes, royalty returns for technologies sourced and regional economic growth. A Google would not have existed today if they were not the recipients of such support during their incubation. To bring Indian private enterprises that are home grown on par with global innovation networks, technology incubation and translational research funding support will be necessary. The SBIRI and BIPP initiatives of DBT are an effort in this direction. There is a necessity to trigger specific funding platforms for various research priority areas so as to attract more and more small and medium enterprises. In the recent past, India has created a significant number of research parks and incubators within and outside the academic environment. However, the

key element to augment economic growth would be the facilitation of technology access, combined with all other support such as the creation of research parks and pre-seed and seed stage funding.

Private enterprises with research foresight have acquired invaluable technologies through the licensing option for further advancement. The diagram above indicates a complex web of inter-related modules in the overall matrix that would be necessary to engage in holistic technology development and commercialization. The diagram also indicates how a synergic engagement of public and private research can be effective in accelerating the pace of commercialization. The diagram indicates two streams of technology development and dissemination. In the first instance, the upstream technologies are validated through a longer translational phase (indicated by “D”s in the diagram) while in the second instance, relatively “readyto-go” technologies are provided to enterprises (generally small and medium enterprises) for commercialization with complimentary funding and enterprise incubation support. All the elements of this eco system are essential for countries to excel in attaining the capacity to develop and commercialize next generation products. The window that blocks the fructification of this eco system is the constrained access to platform or core technologies. It is important to strategically access such technologies applying prudent technology management tactics in order to gain access to vital basic technologies that are globally protected. Market access and pooling of research capacity are vital tools in negotiating access to vital technologies. India and China are certainly in the global radar to attract fruitful engagement in co-development of vital technologies and their translation into next generation products.

HOW DO WE ENSURE FLOW-THROUGH OF TECHNOLOGIES THROUGH THE NATIONAL INNOVATION SYSTEMS?
Core technologies that are hard to secure due to global protection would require national policy planners to acquire such technologies for application in public research and for private sector access. China has taken the lead in acquiring platform technologies that are passed on to national institutions for further downstream research. India has a strong potential to acquire protected technologies for a nationwide application. Creating bio banks with biological materials and funding bio networks for consortium research in a public-private partnership model would be necessary for accelerating research results in critical areas of crop yield improvement (agriculture) and preventive and curative drug development (healthcare). Some of the core technologies would require significant levels of basic research for further application in regionally relevant product development. The public-private partnership research would require grant support for advancing such basic technologies for development of specific products. The products developed would require validation and regulatory assessment and such advancements are feasible through conditional grants and soft funding options. Technologies ready to be applied for commercially relevant products would require commercial licensing with returns that would accrue to the licensor through up-front payments and royalties. There are a number of global platforms to facilitate access to technologies.

INVESTMENT IN TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH PLATFORMS?
Fundamental research results have potential for wide applications in several products. Platform technologies generated from public research consortiums need rapid translation to

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Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms

Paving Way for Innovations

KALEID OSCOPE

Bangalore Bio-Cluster
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms

Paving Way for Innovations
C-CAMP
Taslimarif Saiyed

in Stem
of the cluster is to have an integrated multi-disciplinary and interactive bioscience and technology research enterprise, which will result in pathchanging scientific discoveries, and the translation of these into tangible technological advances. C-CAMP is envisioned to be a major platform technology, industryinteraction and incubator unit. CCAMP will act as the provider and developer of high-end technologies in life science to play the essential role of an enabler of scientific activity and entrepreneurship in the Indian scientific scenario. Considering the vacuum that is present at the interface of academia and industry, such an organization was much needed in the country to be able to assure the success of scientific talent, both in academia and industry. At CCAMP, we are generating state of the art technology platforms, an essential requirement for success and leadership in the field of life science. C-CAMP will allow investigators to use techniques as tools and not be limited by technological barriers while pursuing challenging scientific questions.
Imaging and Flow Cytometry (www.ncbs.res.in/index.php?option=com _content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=9) Molecular Characterization and Proteomics (www.ncbs.res.in/index.php?option=com _content&task=view&id=412&Itemid=9) High Throughput Screening Intellectual Property Management Office (IPMO) Bioscience Research Store New upcoming developments and acquisitions

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms

entre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), a DBT initiative, is incubating at the Bangalore Bio-cluster. Our vision is to act as an enabler of success in bioscience research and entrepreneurship by providing research, development, training and service in state of the art technology platforms. The Bangalore Bio-cluster is an innovative institutional model for cutting-edge scientific research, where existing centres of excellence are used for the development of new centres with challenging new mandates. The Bangalore Bio-cluster comprises of three major institutes: National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), and C-CAMP. NCBS is providing an excellent seeding ground for the other two new institutes by providing the necessary scientific and administrative infrastructure. The vision

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HOW C-CAMP AIMS TO MAKE THIS VISION A REALITY!
In this day and age, among many factors, access to and the efficient utilization of high-end platform technologies has emerged as an essential key that dictates success in scientific leadership. To make available high-end technologies to the Indian scientific community, the Department of Biotechnology and NCBS have established a comprehensive objective mandate for C-CAMP. 1) We provide high-end platform technologies and expertise to academic and industrial scientific researchers equally. These technology platforms include:

access to high-end instruments for participants. A couple of courses in Imaging as well as in Flow Cytometry have already been organised in October, 2009..In December 2009, C-CAMP is organizing a “Hands-on FlowCytometry Course” (www.ncbs.res.in/ ccamp/courses) with the best of highend instruments and experts in the field. The last major objective is to create a nucleation of biotech based organisations in and around the Bangalore Bio-cluster by providing them with incubation facilities, services, expertise, and collaborations. This incubator will aim to provide both scientific and non-scientific expertise for an entrepreneur to take the firm from an idea to an IPO. These non-scientific expertises will include consulting markets, due diligence, IP awareness, technology transfer, funding, regulatory affairs etc.

(academia, industry, start-ups, entrepreneurs, technocrats etc.). During this time we have started several additional programs: 1) Intellectual Property Management Office (IPMO) - C-CAMP has also instituted an IP support body on the campus to assist scientific researchers on IP issues. We plan to grow in due course of time to provide comprehensive support. 2) Bioscience Research Store We understand the role of a regularized store for efficient scientific output. We plan to institute a Bioscience Research Store with the help of reagents/scientific consumable provider companies to assist researchers on and around the campus.

2) More importantly, C-CAMP plans to develop new high-end platform technologies in collaboration with academia, industry, and other colours of the biotech field to stay on top of the evolving technologies. We are already in the process of new high-end technology development which will soon be made available to the scientific community. 3) Third major objective is to provide education/training programs with an aim to generate a pool of experts to efficiently utilize the high-end scientific technologies. We are also planning national hands-on training programs in our technology platforms involving international faculty and the

NEW INITIATIVES
C-CAMP understands the need to develop new technologies and to provide it to scientists in order to further boost the scientific research scenario. Towards this, we are in talks with many promising start-ups, established companies and scientists to develop new technologies to provide them as a

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT
In five months of pre-registration/ project mode, we have seen tremendous response from the scientific community

Taslimarif Saiyed PhD is Director, Strategic Alliances & Business Development, C-CAMP, National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR), Bangalore. (E-mail: taslim@ncbs.res.in)

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Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms

Paving Way for Innovations

REP ORT
technology platform. An excellent example of this is 100X Imaging Inc., a
San Francisco based company currently developing very promising high-end microscopy software. C-CAMP and 100X Imaging Inc. have agreed to develop and provide new microscopy software technology as a platform at C-CAMP to be made available to scientists in India and abroad.

Vision
To act as an enabler of successful bioscience research and entrepreneurship.
Drives Academic and Industrial R&D

C- CAMP develops and Provides technology

BANGALORE BIO-CLUSTER: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
Jyotsna Dhawan, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), National Center for Biological Sciences, GKVK PO, Bellary Road, Bangalore-560 065 On November 14th, the Union Minister of State for S & T, Shri Prithviraj Chavan unveiled a plaque to inaugurate the formation of the Bangalore Biocluster at NCBS campus. The Bangalore Bio-cluster is an innovative institutional model for cutting-edge scientific research, where existing centers of excellence are used to incubate the development of new centers with challenging new mandates. The vision of the cluster is to have an integrated multi-discplinary and interactive bioscience and technology research enterprise, that will result in path-changing scientific discoveries, and the translation of these into tangible technological advances. In this new venture, just as collaboration is taking place at the level of central and state governments, different agencies and institutions (DBT, DAE, UAS, NCBS), building InStem adjacent to NCBS encourages the development of team-driven strategies for stem cell research and regenerative medicine, which leverages core excellence in modern biology already present at NCBS. Rather than the classical model where excellent individual scientists establish groups that work on specific areas of research, the InStem philosophy will encourage highly interdisciplinary work right off the bat. Aspiring faculty will be inducted not only for the excellence of their scientific credentials but also for the inventiveness of their collaborative proposals. Locating InStem in Bangalore also means that cross-fertilization of ideas from the engineering, IT and physical sciences - that have a strong presence in this city - is possible. In addition, InStem will have a strong emphasis on translational and clinical research in stem cells, by building on existing links with the DBT Center for Stem Cell Research at Christian Medical College, Vellore, and new bridges with the clinical community in Bangalore. have established a major collaborative platform technology and industryinteraction and incubator unit, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP). C-CAMP will act as the provider and developer of technology and act as an enabler of scientific activity. C-CAMP will allow investigators to use techniques as tools and not be limited by technological barriers while pursuing challenging scientific questions. NCBS, C-CAMP and InStem will share space, individuals, facilities and ideas in a borderless ecosystem where interdisciplinary work will be encouraged. Thus, like a stem cell that divides to generate progeny that differentiate into multiple different cell types, all of which collaborate to make a functioning organism, NCBS and DBT have seeded a process of self-renewal and differentiation to generate new centers that will all collaborate to make a vibrant new center in Bangalore, a city that is already at the forefront of innovative enterprise because of its traditional value for education, research and technology.

ORGANIZATION-LEVEL INTERACTIONS
C-CAMP is a new organization and perhaps the only one of its kind in India. We at C-CAMP realize the need to have close interactions with leaders in the field. Accordingly a dialogue has been initiated with several international organizations including Bio-Platforms (Australia); German Biotech Association; High Throughput Screening ; Institut Curie, Technological Equipment and Platforms (France); European Molecular Biology Laboratory and Deakin University, Australia

Enable new science and new enterprise. Drive Economic Growth

FUTURE PLANS
C-CAMP has set for itself a very ambitious agenda for the future that encompasses following key result areas: Development of new high-end

technologies for scientific research through multi-disciplinary collaborations. Nation-wide comprehensive technology training programs with international faculties to generate expertise pool in high-end technologies. Becoming a unique platform for all sections of scientific researcher to come and discuss their needs, objectives, and plans in terms of sciences and business/management of science.

IN CONCLUSION
C-CAMP is a new initiative with a unique mandate to uplift the Indian scientific scenario. It has taken some concrete steps towards its objectives and look forward to the future. It would be interesting to see how its flexible approach, that provides C-CAMP many new opportunities paves the way for innovation in India and enriches biological research in the country.

BUILDING A BORDERLESS COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR INNOVATION IN THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Taking the collaborative philosophy one step further, together, NCBS and InStem

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DBT and BHU

A New Formation

FEAT URE

DBT and BHU

A New Formation
D.P. Singh

anaras Hindu University (BHU) was founded in 1916 as an institution that taught subjects that were most relevant in the contemporary world in a milieu seeped in Indian culture and ethos. Guided by the exalted vision of its founder, BHU, right from its inception and against much odds, took lead in starting teaching programmes that were of contemporary need but not taught anywhere in the country. After 90 years, strengthened by the quantum leap in the institutional support, BHU continues to be a national leader in introducing innovative teaching and research programs that prepare professionals with human values ready to take up the challenges that an upcoming society has to confront. Department of Biotechnology was created by the Govt. of India to reap the benefits of the emerging field of recombinant DNA technology by

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developing technologies and making discoveries in India that could address problems of biomedical/bio-agricultural origin. BHU is among the first five institutions which DBT selected for initiating the DBT-UGC-sponsored School of Biotechnology for M.Sc. Biotechnology program. This relatively modest joint enterprise between DBT, UGC and BHU, has flourished in leaps and bounds through grants for more teaching programs (M.Sc. in Molecular & Human Genetics: MHG) as well as large scale research initiatives. DBT has particularly supported research in diverse areas of Human/Medical Genetics by funding several projects in the last ten years. The continued support to the School of Biotechnology and one-time teaching grant to MHG has advanced the teaching very substantially, especially the support of Rs. 50,000 for project work to each student. This step has

encouraged students to pursue challenging (though small) questions. A good number of students from these courses have taken up research as a career, thanks largely to their training at M.Sc. level. Department of Biotechnology has funded (Rs 45 lakhs) a project for a chromosomal and molecular diagnostic unit, the kind of which is not present in the whole of eastern India (Eastern U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh). This has brought in its wake awareness of genetic and chromosomal disorders and the possibilities of prenatal diagnosis and genetic counseling in a large section of medical fraternity and the population at large. This has also made possible to carry out meaningful research in genetic and multifactorial disorders as well as population genetics. The DBT programe support on genetic disorders (Rs 4.4 crores) and projects in other related areas has not only given a substantial fillip to research in clinical and population human genetics but augmented human resource and laboratory facilities. University has already created a Center for Genetic Disorders and agreed to continue to support this work after the DBT support is over. The most comprehensive, substantial and visible support from DBT to BHU has come recently (September, 2009) in the form of the DBT-BHU Interdisciplinary School of Life Sciences (Rs 23.89 crores). This support for a period of five years, aims at fostering high level interactive, interdisciplinary research in diverse areas of life sciences including disease biology, stress biology, microbial ecology, comparative genomics, bioremediation etc. It aims at appointing and creating specialized human resource, state of art laboratory in the existing life science departments as well as establishing a new centre of activity where workers from diverse areas could interact and work, cutting across their present domains of expertise. Core facilities such as Proteomics, microarray, FACS etc are being established to create a relatively self sustaining set up. It goes without saying that this quantum and nature of support is the elixir that BHU badly needs. In the first place it has catalyzed the spirit of working together by merging different expertise together, and secondly it has given us hope that a good question would not be ignored for want of expertise and/or resources. In this program we also propose to start an integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. program in life sciences which amalgamates a wide cafeteria of courses gleaned from all the life science departments and a training of research at M.Sc. level itself. The genesis of the Department of Biotechnology, a little over two decades ago, was the objective to pull the scientific comity of this nation up from a slumberous, lackadaisical pace of work to a mission driven, challenging and globally competitive science. It also aimed to take the science to industry and the fruits of it to the public at large. There was paramount need for the matching commitment and zeal on part of the existing institutions of the country. BHU is one of those institutions that were awake to the growing trend in biological science, and it is only appropriate that together with DBT, we march ahead.

D.P. Singh PhD is Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi - 221 005, (U.P). (E-mail: vc_bhu@sify.com)

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DBT and Osmania University

Marching Together

FEAT URE
ISLARE) would be to evolve a comprehensive curriculum for M. Sc. without gaps and overlaps, and enhance the hands-on practical training to give the students a well-rounded expertise in Life Sciences. In September 2009, DBT sanctioned the ISLARE program to Osmania University. The specific objectives of this program are :
To strengthen human resources and manpower in the Life Sciences departments. To provide high quality teaching and practical hands-on experience to postgraduate students, for improving their employability. To enhance the quality of research component in the 5 departments and 2 research centers pursuing Life Sciences to meet international standards, and

DBT and Osmania University

Marching Together
T. Tirupathi Rao

To cater to growing demands for an industry-related practical training component for interested persons and for development and production of important value-added products.

niversities are centers for creating a highly skilled work force to meet the requirements of teaching centers, research institutions and industrial concerns. At present, the number of students graduating from Indian Universities with post-graduate degrees in all branches of Life Sciences is well below that required by the Indian economy. The main constraint in providing quality education with respect to basic science, especially in the case of Universities supported primarily by State Governments, is the absence of suitable infrastructure in terms of laboratory space and equipment to provide handson experience to M.Sc. students and research scholars. Osmania University, established in 1918, is the 7th oldest university in India. Over the past 90 years, the University has evolved into a premier institution of higher learning, catering to the educational needs of over 300,000

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undergraduate and post-graduate students, predominantly from 9 rural districts of the less-developed Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The study of Life Sciences in Osmania University is pursued in 5 departments - Biochemistry, Botany, Genetics, Microbiology, and Zoology and 2 research centers Center for Plant Molecular Biology, and Institute for Genetics and Hospital for Genetic Diseases. We have self-finance courses such as Biotechnology and Environmental Sciences besides the above. Currently, a total of over 500 students on the campus college and over 1200 students in affiliated colleges are enrolled for an M. Sc. degree in the discipline of Life Sciences. The number of research scholars pursuing a PhD in Life Sciences is over 250. Five departments in Osmania University dedicated to branches of Life Sciences are autonomous in terms of

their curriculum, teaching and training programs. This system provides a student with in-depth knowledge in their particular branch of science, but only moderate exposure to modern interdisciplinary topics in areas such as Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Forensic Science, Medical Technology and Bioinformatics. This becomes a serious handicap for graduating students in their quest for immediate employment or enrollment for a higher degree (Ph.D.). To address these concerns, the Life Sciences group at Osmania University approached DBT with a proposal to bring under a single umbrella the various departments and research centers to constitute a “School of Life Sciences” at Osmania University, Hyderabad. The mandate of this DBT Osmania University Interdisciplinary School of Life Sciences for Advanced Research and Education (DBT-OU-

Until 2009, a student enrolled for a M.Sc. in any of the 5 departments had to pass 16 theory and 8-16 practical papers in subjects taught in the parent department over 4 semesters. There was no opportunity for the student to attend classes offered by any other department. Under the ISLARE program, a choicebased credit system (CBCS) will be introduced wherein a student would be required to pass 12 “core” papers offered by the parent department, and 4 “optional” papers offered by other participating departments. Each core and optional paper will count for 4 credit units. As a first step, students joining these 5 departments on the campus college in July 2009 have a new syllabus wherein they will have 14 core papers and 2 optional papers. From next year, the University plans to implement the 12+4 CBCS for M.Sc in Life Sciences on the campus college. Implementation in affiliated colleges is expected to take place within the next 2 years. To prepare for the interdisciplinary program, Osmania University has allotted space in a newly constructed building to house 5

interdisciplinary modular laboratories. DBT has sanctioned Rs. 3 crores for the construction of these state-of-the-art teaching laboratories. The 5 participating departments are designing courses under the CBCS to include a practical component to give the postgraduate students adequate handson practical experience in modern interdisciplinary technology. This building will also house a Central Instrument Facility, which will provide access to various specialized equipment. This will not only prevent duplication of equipment by different departments, but also contribute to enhance the quality of research in the participating departments. The DBT has sanctioned Rs. 6.73 crores for buying new equipment; in addition, departments may choose to relocate some of their existing equipment to this Facility. DBT has earmarked an amount of 30 lakhs per year for consumables. DBT has also sanctioned the award of 14 research fellowships for a 5-year period with a consolidated scholarship of Rs 8,000 for the first 2 years and Rs 10,000 for the next 3 years. In liaison with the Center for Distance Education at the Osmania University, we plan to hold regular live

video-conferences with distinguished scientists from other national and international institutions in a lecture or workshop format. As a pilot program, in April 2009, students from Hyderabad attended a 5-week course (3 hours per week) offered in Ohio State University via live 3-way videoconferencing between Osmania University, Hyderabad; Anna University, Chennai; and Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. In July 2009, Professors from Osmania University and lecturers from various affiliated colleges interacted with Prof. William Hood, Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado at Boulder, and author of the excellent book 'Biochemistry: A Problems Approach', via live video-conference to discuss modern methods of pedagogy. We hope to make available online and recorded lectures as well as online course materials to provide support for our teaching staff. The Life Sciences departments at Osmania University are excited at the prospect of a new era in interdepartmental collaboration in teaching and research. We expect that the DBT-ISLARE program will benefit thousands of post-graduate students each year in this region.

T. Tirupathi Rao PhD is Vice-Chancellor, Osmania University, Hyderabad-500 007. (E-mail: vc@osmania.ac.in)

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Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company

PRO FILE

Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company

1987. We now set up a lab in Bangalore in 1991. In 1998, we set up the state-ofthe-art Mahyco Research Centre at Dawalwadi, with biotechnology and ongoing hybrid breeding programs in over 30 crop species and support programs in plant pathology, entomology, cytogenetics, biochemistry, tissue culture, rapid cycling, and various other areas of biotech and transgenic plant research. We have invested over Rs 50 crore on the R&D infrastructure and have continued our resource commitment on an annual basis. Over 200 scientists are engaged in the research programs at Mahyco.” Big money, considering that in November 1964, the founder could not persuade 20 people to contribute Rs 5,000 each towards the share capital of Rs 1 lakh, despite the assurance of a turnover of Rs 1 crore! The Barwale family ultimately put in half the capital, while the remaining partners could pay up only a quarter of their contribution -the rest was to be taken from the harvested crop! Today, Mahyco has over 1,000 employees, a turnover of Rs 347 crore and is aiming to be a Rs 1,000crore company. Recalls Dr Barwale: “I did not have any business experience then. I was the first to plant yellow vein mosaic virus-resistant lady finger (bhindi) which we got from Pusa. That gave me a good crop. When I started growing bhindi, I did not feel I was initiating a big movement. I was just happy that I was a part of the country's growing food grain production for which we felt a great need at that time. Then I planted hybrid maize, sorghum (millet) and bajra in

Dawalwadi, PO Box 76, Jalna-431203.(www.mahyco.com) he Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Limited, popularly known as Mahyco, has a remarkable history in many ways. It was set up in 1964 by a man with farming but no business experience, and at a time when public sector research institutions and government seed companies dominated Indian agriculture. Yet, from small beginnings in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, the company slowly grew to its present stature as a pioneer and leader in the Indian seed industry with a footprint across India, thanks to its founder, Dr B.R. Barwale's vision of what seed can do for farmers. “My approach was to use the best available agricultural technology to increase production,” says the 79-yearold Dr Barwale who was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2001 in recognition of his services to Indian agriculture. That has been the cornerstone of Mahyco's success -- a strong, diverse and

quick succession -- and then wheat. Soon I realized what a big contribution new seeds with new traits could make to a farmer's income. Before the Green Revolution began, I was happy if I got 6 quintals of wheat per acre on my 80acre farm. Besides, Maharashtra is not a wheat growing area. But when Dr Normal Borlaug's new high yielding varieties came, I got 22 quintals! The same happened with cotton in the 1970s I grew hybrids on ten gunthas for the first time in Maharashtra and found it flowered in 45 days instead of 90 days! Those are the marvels of putting science into agriculture.” Mahyco has always focused on the production of high yielding varieties and hybrid seeds and is a pioneer in many respects through strict adherence to its motto, "Quality Seed - Mahyco Seed". Today, it is engaged in the research, development, production, processing, marketing and aftersales service of 115 products in 30 crop species, including cereals, oilseeds, fibre crops and vegetables. It has to its credit 21 notified varieties. Meeting the diverse needs of farmers in a subcontinent with widely varying soil and agronomic conditions has been a challenging task, but it has been accomplished by a strong research base and the company's seed production, processing, and marketing infrastructure. In-house research focus

at the Mahyco Research Centre has been in a number of areas related to improving crop performance. Tolerance to biotic stresses including pests, diseases and viruses, and abiotic stresses such as drought and salinity and increasing nutrient uptake efficiency are good examples of the work we do. An integrated approach utilising breeding methods, genomics and direct gene transfer has been adopted, to ensure that products are robust and field-ready.

T

progressive program of R&D. This, along with its timely and appropriate collaborations with academia and industry, has enabled it to keep pace with new developments across the spectrum and retain its pioneering thrust. Worldwide too, Mahyco was the first company to successfully commercialize F1 hybrid cotton based on genetic and cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) systems. In India, Mahyco was the first company to produce and market hybrid sorghum, pearl millet, wheat and sunflower, and the first company to receive approval in 2002 for commercialization of insect-tolerant Bt cotton, India's first genetically improved crop. Mahyco was the first Indian company to commercially grow and market the transgenic Bollgard cotton hybrid in India. It developed a wide range of hybrids with perfect combination of technology and germplasm.

The process for the venture into biotechnology began in 1990, thanks to Dr Barwale's son, Raju Barwale, now the managing director of the company. “In those days, the bollworm was a major threat to the cotton crop. I came across this information which indicated that the crop would tolerate the pest with certain genes known as Bt. We started experimenting with Bt genes in the early 1990s. Subsequently, when we had Bt cotton plants, I remember my 55-yearold breeder come running to my room to tell me breathlessly that the larva had dropped dead on feeding on the Bt cotton plant with its in-built tolerance to the bollworm!

COMMITMENT TO RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
That experience convinced Raju Barwale that biotechnology was the path forward in the coming century. “We had already set up a tissue culture lab in Jalna in

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Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company

Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company

Mahyco has also entered into numerous partnerships with public institutions and private companies to bring the best technologies to the Indian farmer. To name a few, Mahyco is sourcing sucking pest tolerance genes from the Bose Institute, Kolkata and chickpea pod borer resistance genes from Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat, insect resistance genes from IARI and stress tolerance genes from Cornell University. Key crops expressing stress tolerance and nutrient use efficiency genes are in development using technology sourced from Arcadia Biosciences, USA. Molecular breeding and genomics is an area of special focus, especially in key crops such as rice and cotton. In the case of cotton, the yield per hectare, which was hovering around 300 kg per hectare for more than a decade till 2002, touched an all time high figure of 560 kg per hectare in 2007-08 with the use of Bt cotton. India emerged as the world's second largest cotton producer in 2006-07, edging past the USA. India's share in world cotton production has increased substantially, from 12.5% in 2001-02 to 20.6% in 2007-08 an indication that India is poised to become the number one cotton producer in the world by 2015. After the success of Bt cotton, Mahyco has developed insect-tolerant or Bt brinjal. Brinjal is a key vegetable crop in India and South Asia, and is affected significantly by the brinjal fruit and shoot borer, with 50-70% of yields affected in severe infestations. Present control methods consist mainly of heavy application of chemical sprays, which leaves residues on the fruit and affects health and the environment. Bt brinjal is effective at controlling the pest, with 80% reduction in sprays seen in the field, and has been shown to be safe for consumption and the environment. University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad, Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) Varanasi, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Lal Teer Seeds, Bangladesh, and University of Philippines, Los Baños (UPLB), Philippines. During the development of this product, Mahyco received support from the Program for Biosafety Studies (PBS) to study baseline susceptibility and genetic diversity in the brinjal fruit and shoot borer. Mahyco has participated in a number of projects under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India. A Centre of Excellence project to understand the molecular basis of heterosis in rice in collaboration with the University of Delhi, South Campus (UDSC), is currently active. Under DBT's SBIRI programme, a project on developing virus-resistant cotton is currently being carried out with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. Efforts to improve Jatropha seed oil quality and seed quantity, is also supported by a DBT grant.

ADHERENCE TO INTERNATIONAL QUALITY STANDARDS
Mahyco products are known across the country, and also in other Asian and African countries, for their consistently high quality. The Mahyco logo is the symbol of trust and quality to farmers everywhere. The Mahyco certification represents the largest multi-location certification in India and one of the largest in the world, covering all of Mahyco's different locations under the Multi-location/discipline Registration Scheme, as per the accreditation standards of ANSI-RAB. “Mahyco is an ISO 9001-2000 certified facility and the Quality Assurance seed testing

various levels of ISTA certificates for germination, physical purity, moisture among others.”

MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN FARMERS' LIVES
Mahyco's role in the development of the private seed sector has been that of a catalyst in many ways. Taking a leadership position in innovation, and setting new standards in industry practices, has been a hallmark of the company. Building on the legacy of the founder, and keeping its commitment to delivering the best crop products to the Indian farmer, will be Mahyco's focus in the years to come.

PARTNERING FOR DEVELOPING BETTER PRODUCTS FOR INDIAN AGRICULTURE: PRESENT AND FUTURE
Mahyco also has a long track-record of supporting innovative research and initiatives in agriculture. The company has provided support to ICRISAT's pigeon pea hybrid development programme and the consortium for pigeon pea and pearl millet breeding for over a decade. Recently, Mahyco joined the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC), a consortium established by IRRI to develop and support hybrid rice research and best practices. A public-private partnership to transfer Mahyco's Bt brinjal technology to public institutions is underway, with funding from the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Program II (ABSPII). This is collaboration between Mahyco and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore,

AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
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TRANSLATIONAL HEALTH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Sudhanshu Vrati & Satyjit Rath, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi 110067. Department of Biotechnology has set up the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) to facilitate development, optimization and evaluation of technologies for public health as an independent interdisciplinary centre where basic scientists, physician scientists, technologists and epidemiologists would work together. The institute has an initial focus on infectious diseases, vaccines and related sciences, platform technologies, bio-therapeutics, cell based technologies and neutraceuticals for promoting well being. Each of these sections function as mission oriented centers unlike the existing model of individual based science in many research institutes. THSTI laboratories are currently being designed to come up in the Health Biotech Science Cluster at Faridabad. In the mean time the institute has started functioning from its interim premises in Gurgaon where a 25000 sqft. laboratory has been set up. Two of the mission centers of THSTI, namely the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Research Center (VIDRC) and the Pediatric Biology Centre (PBC) have already started functioning. The mission of the VIDRC is to study infectious diseases and pathogens with the aim to generate translational knowledge for developing prophylactic and therapeutic measures against diseases prevalent in India. The VIDRC is initially focusing on enteric and mosquito-driven viruses prevalent in India, such as Rotavirus, Japanese encephalitis and Dengue viruses. The centre is currently conducting clinical trials of an oral rotavirus vaccine against childhood diarrhea. The vaccine has already completed the Phase II trial and is slated for the Phase III trial early next year. Among the other diseases, the VIDRC will also conduct research in tuberculosis area where clinical trials of a candidate vaccine are planned. In addition to translational and developmental science, the philosophy of the creation of THSTI has been to create core platform technology and inter-disciplinary science capacity within its core programs and to embed a number of niche centers within the THSTI. For this, in addition to the VIDRC, the THSTI has recently mooted the creation of a niche centre in pediatrics biology, which DBT has approved after scrutiny. This Pediatrics Biology Centre (PBC) at THSTI is being developed with the collaboration of scientists from NII, and envisages other program-based collaborations with medical centers, hospitals and other scientific institutions. The THSTI has committed four faculty positions for the PBC progammes. These positions have been advertised, and the process of faculty selection has been initiated. The goal of the PBC is to serve as an interdisciplinary research center where research on the biological basis of childhood health and disease leads to the creation of knowledge-driven interventions and technologies that can be sustainably implemented. This crossdisciplinary platform will bridge expertise from fields like pediatrics, infectious disease biology, epidemiology, microbiology, immunology, platform technologies, cell & molecular biology and systems biology to achieve this goal. The PBC will also use its domain knowledge to design and profile tools for improved diagnostics and devices for neonatal and infant care. The focus here will be on public health, particularly delivered through primary and secondary health centers more than individual patient care. The PBC, in this way, could become a national catalyst in designing solutions for neonatal and infant care engaging multiple expertise groups in this endeavor. This will connect biomedical science, engineering and children's health to develop a fascinating science driven approach to solving child health problems.

SIXTH SOLANACEAE GENOME WORKSHOP
Prof. RP Sharma1, Prof. JP Khurana2, Dr. Renu Swarup3 1 University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, 2University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi, 3Department of Biotechnology, CGO Complex, New Delhi. The sixth Solanaceae Genome Workshop (SOL 2009) was held from November 8-13, 2009 at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi, India. Nearly 350 delegates from all over the globe, representing 21 countries, attended the SOL 2009. The Workshop was organized in the form of ten major sessions and eight satellite sessions. In total, there were about 78 oral talks in ten sessions and 64 talks in satellite sessions. In addition, a special Solanaceae Genome Network (SGN) workshop was held for educating potential users about the different softwares that can help to search for markers and molecular maps, QTLs, integrating genome and phenome, and information on the metabolome, of some major species of Solanaceae. There was also a special discussion about the publication of results of tomato and potato Sequencing Projects where representatives from all participating countries deliberated. During the Workshop, about 120 posters were displayed and separate poster viewing and discussion sessions were held. During SOL 2009, four plenary lectures were delivered on different aspects of Solanaceae and one was focused on genomic biodiversity of Indian population. The Workshop had six keynote addresses by leading scientists. The SOL 2009 was academically quite charged as the SOL community announced the near completion of sequencing of both tomato and potato genomes, much ahead of the target set originally, and the information on these genomes would be made public soon. The talks during SOL 2009 highlighted the current status of research in different Solanaceae species. In view of large number of talks and areas

Mr. Prithviraj Chauhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Science & Technology (IC) and Earth Sciences inaugurating SOL 2009.

covered, we provide only the major directions where the current program would lead us to and also the role India is likely to play in the international initiative. India has been one of the major partners in both tomato and potato sequencing projects. The target areas where a concerted effort is required to gear up and harness the genomic information would be:
Developing tools for assigning functions to the repertoire of genes represented on the tomato genome. These tools can be applied by using multiple approaches, such as profiling of metabolites and disease resistance phenotypes of the germplasm accessions in the country. Generating resources for the genefunction analysis using the tools of forward genetics by mutagenesis and reverse genetics, such as RNAi, TILLING and insertional mutagenesis. Make concerted effort to understand the biodiversity of the pathogen and viruses attacking the plants and develop tools to combat these using the genome sequence information from tomato and also from pathogens. Undertake a massive effort in developing bioinformatics tools to add to ever increasing information coming from genome, proteome, transcriptome and

metabolome databases and seamlessly integrate them into a common platform. Invest in the next generation sequencing platforms to resequence the elite germplasm, cultivars, mutants and wild accessions of tomato to decipher the combination of genes responsible for the quality traits for nutrition and disease resistance. Use the tomato genome sequence as a gold standard for obtaining genomic information of medicinal plants belonging to Solanaceae.

The International SOL program would continue as an umbrella where India would be major partner. While each country would be pursuing its own agenda, there would be extensive cooperation(s) at country-to-country level to address the common issues. One such initiative being taken is the joint effort by India and The Netherlands to sequence the IL lines of Solanum pennellii. The SOL community in future would evolve such modules and oversee that the information flows between all the partners to accelerate research, its application and dissipation of knowledge to the farmer (the producer) and the ultimate consumer.

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plants to identify potential anti-H5N1 and anti-H1N1 agents and develop standardized, efficacious and safe herbal product. Mohd. Aslam, DBT

BENCH TO THE BED SIDE
Under the “Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI)” scheme of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India a project entitled “Clinical development, Process development and scale-up of a commercially viable manufacturing process of Recombinant Follicle Stimulating Hormone (r-FSH) expressed in recombinant Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell line (Phase II)” was funded

recombinant FSH market. The product is used for treatment of fertility disorders in women. The product has shown to effectively stimulate follicular development and steroidogenesis, despite unmeasureable LH levels in women whose endogenous gonadotrophin secretion is suppressed. A multicentric trial is being undertaken to assess the efficacy and costeffectiveness of the product. SBIRI Team

and Mr. James C Greenwood, President & CEO, BIO (USA). The 3 teams also made presentations and received great encouragement from the delegates. Nandita Chandavarkar, ABLE

Anamika Gambhir M. S. Shashi Kumar Manoj Dabas Bijaya Kr. Ojha Arogya Swami

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A research publication (Simple high-cell density fed-batch technique for high-level recombinant protein production with Pichia pastoris: Application to intracellular production of Hepatitis B surface antigen) authored by a team of scientists from International Center for Genetic Engineering and Research, New Delhi (Chandrasekhar Gurramkonda, Ahmad Adnan, Thomas Gäbel, Heinrich Lünsdorf, Anton Ross, Satish Kumar Nemani, Sathyamangalam Swaminathan, Navin Khanna, Ursula Rinas) has been listed among the 20 highest accessed papers published in Microbial Cell Factories (8:13 |10 February 2009|) in the year 2008-09. The efforts that led to this publication were supported by the DBT under its Indo-German Collaborative Research Program. Biotech News congratulates the authors on this notable achievement.

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