Distinguished Luminaries from member nations of IRGSP, Fellow Scientists, Ladies and Gentlemen!

 

It is my privilege to congratulate the Japanese Government and the team led by Dr Takuji Sasaki for providing leadership in completing phase II level sequence of the rice genome. This is an especial occasion of fulfillment to scientists of member nations and people of the world as a whole. India has maximum area in the world under rice cultivation, ~28% of its arable land, and produces about 135 million tons of rough rice. Looking at the need of growing population and rice yield in India, it was obvious for us to participate in global efforts meant for the welfare of people of the world through rice. It would have, however, not been possible for us to participate in IRGSP without the keen interest and encouragement of Dr Manju Sharma, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. She herself visited Japan in the early 2000 to establish Indian membership of IRGSP and nurtured two sister centres at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute  and University of Delhi South Campus for genome sequencing, with my colleague Dr. N.K. Singh and Professor J.P. Khurana, as Principal Investigators. These centres have completed the phase II level sequence of a major region of chromosome 11 assigned to India which comes to about 15Mb. I should acknowledge the help of RGP and US labs in training our scientists and sharing resources. It has been a pleasure, privilege, and learning experience to work as a part of IRGSP for sequencing the entire rice genome. This would indeed lay the foundation for better understanding of the biology of cereals and pave the way for hunger-free world. The message of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Bajpai ji, and the presence of Dr Manju Sharma on this ceremonious occasion reflects firm commitment of India to generate finished sequence of our share of rice genome and take the benefits of rice genomics to the deserving people.

 

Thank you !

Professor Akhilesh Kumar Tyagi