The project will integrate various areas of life sciences including biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, statistics and plant breeding in conjunction of germplasm banks as detailed below:
1. Genetic material selection: The project will make use of core collection of finger millet germplasms which has been drawn from world collection of germplasm and represents the whole breadth of genetic variations present in gene bank of this crop. Dr Rattan Yadav’s laboratory in the UK is known worldwide for work on millets and has got various collection of germplasms and other genetic resources available with him. Seeds of the available germplasm will be multiplied for use in various phenotyping studies proposed in the project in glass houses.
2. Evaluation of Ca-content (Objective 1): Grain samples collected from these germplasms will be dehusked, cleaned and dried completely before laboratory analysis of Ca-contents with precautions to avoid dust or any other external contaminant at every step. Samples will be wet ashed/ acid digested using a mixture of three parts concentrated nitric acid and one part perchloric acid, dissolved in deionised water and filtered through Whatman 42 mm paper. The biochemical phenotypes of this core set will be quantitatively evaluated for their Ca-contents by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS)12 or inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Measurements will be calibrated with the available commercial standards using standard flame operating instructions as per manufacturer’s recommendation. For each genotype, analysis will done in three replicates. IBERS of the AU has got excellent chemistry platforms to support such work.
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...roject will also use extensive bioinformatics methods, like, stack de novo pipeline using Samtools software package (to identify SNP variants), GAPIT; TASSEL or PLINK (for GWAS) and large scale comparative genome analysis (to exploit synteny and conservation of genomes across grass family to trace common genes or their lack of in related species) involved in the Ca accumulation pathway.
4. The project findings will be integrated with other analogous studies being carried out at IBERS on other aspects of micronutrient accumulations and starch traits in millets. These studies will help to establish if and how other health befitting traits (such as iron and Zinc accumulation, and starch traits that help regulate type-2 diabetes better) have favourable or antagonist genetics and provide directions of possibilities of their simultaneous improvement through plant breeding.
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