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CIMMYT and UAS-Bangalore to Establish a Maize Doubled Haploid Facility in Karnataka, India

KARNAKATA, India (CIMMYT) — The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore (UAS-Bangalore) have signed a collaboration agreement for establishing a maize doubled haploid (DH) facility at the Agricultural Research Station in Kunigal (ARS-Kunigal), Tumkur district, Karnataka state, India.

CIMMYT will establish and operate the maize DH facility, including field activities and the associated laboratory. Occupying 12 acres of land, the facility is estimated to produce at least 30,000 DH lines a year. CIMMYT hopes the facility to be operational by the last quarter of 2019.

The maize DH facility, funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE), fulfills a very important requirement of the region. It has the potential to accelerate maize breeding and hybrid development and significantly increase genetic gains through maize breeding in Asia. During the 13th Asian Maize Conference in Ludhiana, India (October 8-10, 2018), several partners — including the Indian Institute of Maize Research (ICAR-IIMR) — emphasized the urgent need for a state-of-the-art maize DH facility that could serve breeding programs across Asia.

“This is indeed a major landmark for maize breeding, especially in the public sector, not only in India, but also in Asia,” said B.M. Prasanna, Director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE). “The facility will provide maize DH development services, not only for the maize breeding programs of CIMMYT and UAS-B, but also for national agricultural research system institutions and small and medium-sized seed companies engaged in maize breeding and interested to pursue DH-based advanced maize breeding strategies in Asia. DH technology, in combination with molecular marker-assisted breeding, can significantly increase genetic gains in maize breeding.”

“The maize doubled haploid facility … will be the first of its kind in the public domain in Asia,” said S. Rajendra Prasad, Vice Chancellor of UAS-Bangalore. “The work done at this facility will certainly benefit the farmers of the state, country and the Asian region, by accelerating maize breeding and improving efficiencies.”

The signing of the collaboration agreement took place on February 18, 2019 at UAS-Bangalore’s campus in Bengaluru. CIMMYT was represented by B.M. Prasanna and BS Vivek, Senior Maize Breeder. UAS-Bangalore was represented by S. Rajendra Prasad; Mahabaleshwar Hegde, Registrar, and Y.G. Shadakshari, Director of Research.

The benefits of doubled haploid technology

DH maize lines are highly uniform, genetically pure and stable, and enable significant saving of time and resources in deriving parental lines, which are building blocks of improved maize hybrids.

Over the last 12 years, CIMMYT has worked intensively on optimizing DH technology for the tropics. Researchers released first-generation tropicalized haploid inducers in 2012, and second-generation tropicalized haploid inducers in 2017, in partnership with the University of Hohenheim, Germany. In 2017, CIMMYT developed more than 93,000 maize DH lines from 455 populations, and delivered them to maize breeders in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


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