Consortia Research Platform on ‘Molecular Breeding’

Title of the Project:
ICAR Consortia Research Platform on ‘Molecular Breeding’
Molecular breeding for improvement of tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, yield and quality traits in crops- Maize

Project Duration:   
Phase-I- 01.01.2015 to 31.03.2017
Phase-II- 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020

Funding Agency: External funded (Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi)
Total approved cost of the project:
Phase-I – ` 56,20,000=00
Phase-II – ` 52,64,000=00

Phase -I

  1. Validation of molecular markers linked to o2, lcyE, crtRB1, lpa1 and lpa2 in the trait specific donors and recipient parental lines.
  2. Introgression of o2, crtRB1 and lpa2 governing high-lysine and- tryptophan, enhanced provitamin A (beta-carotene) and low phytic acid respectively  into parental lines of elite popular hybrids using marker-assisted backcross breeding (MABB) approach.
  3. Assessment of introgressed lines or near-isogenic lines (NILs) for high-lysine and -tryptophan and enhanced provitamin-A (beta-carotene) and low phytic acid content and agronomic performances.
  4. Reconstitution of original hybrid combination (by crossing NILs) with enhanced quality traits along with similar or better agronomic performance and yield of original hybrid.


  1. Introgression of opaque2, ctrRB1 and lpa governing nutritional quality into elite inbreds using marker-assisted backcross breeding approach.
  2. Assessment of opaque2-, crtRB1– and lpa– introgressed lines for target traits, yield and agronomic performance.

Project team:

Phase –I
Principal Investigator:

  1. Dr. Chikkappa G. Karjagi
    Co-Principal Investigators:
  2. Dr. Jyoti Kaul
  3. Dr. K.S. Hooda
  4. Dr. Dharam Paul
  5. Dr. Bhupender Kumar

    Principal Investigator:
  6. Dr. Chikkappa G. Karjagi
    Co-Principal Investigators:
  7. Dr. K.S. Hooda
  8. Dr. Dharam Paul
  9. Dr. Bhupender Kumar

Major achievements
Phase –I

  1. Out of several sequence tagged molecular markers available in public domain for two genes (crtRB1 and lcyE) determining higher level of provitamin A in maize two markers namely crtRB 65F/crtRB 66R and lcyE5’TE-F/TE103PR R1 were validated for polymorphism for crtRB1 and lcyE gene respectively between provitamin A donor, CIMMYT5 and recipient inbred lines viz., LM17 and LM19.
  2. umc2230, sequence tagged microsatellite molecular marker (STMS) which was reported to linked to lpa2 gene determining low phytic acid in maize was validated for polymorphism between low phytic acid donor inbred viz., LPA2 and three of the four recipient lines viz., LM13, LM14, and LM17; whereas for LM 19 an HRM technique was standardized.
  3. Out of the three sequence tagged microsatellite markers (STMS) viz., phi057, phi112 and umc1006, which were reported to linked to o2 gene, phi057 was found to be polymorphic between HKI163, a high-lysine and tryptophan donor and LM19, a recipient recurrent parent.
  4. Three genes namely o2, lpa2, and crtRB1and lcyE were introgressed into respective recipient inbred lines through marker assisted backcross breeding (MABB) and developed BC1F1s.
  5. The reconstituted improved PMH 1 and PMH 6 with low phytic acid.
  6. The phytic acid in the reconstituted hybrids varies from 1.8 to 3.1 mg/g.

Artificial Intelligence Based Mobile App for Identification and Advisory of Maize Diseases and Insect Pests

Title of project: Artificial Intelligence Based Mobile App for Identification and Advisory of Maize Diseases and Insect Pests

Funding agency: National Agricultural Science Fund (NASF)

Total approved cost of the project: ₹ 158.208 lakh ( January, 2019 – December, 2021)


  1. To train the deep learning (Artificial Intelligence) algorithm for maize diseases and insect pests identification.
  2. To develop the artificial intelligence based mobile app for providing the advisory to the farmers using trained deep learning algorithm.
  3. Validation of the developed artificial intelligence mobile app using images from farmers ‘fields.

PI: Dr. Sudeep Marwah Principal Scientist, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, New Delhi
CCPI: Dr. Brajesh Lall Associate Professor, Dept of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
CC-PI: Dr. (Mrs.) P. Lakshmi Soujanya (Scientist SS), Winter Nursery Centre, ICAR-IIMR, WNC, Hyderabad 
Co PI: Dr. Sumit Kumar Aggarwal (Scientist), ICAR-IIMR, Ludhiana

Major achievements: – 

  • Photos collected for different diseases (Maydis Leaf Blight, Turcicum Leaf Blight, Banded Leaf and Sheath Blight, Charcoal Rot and Bacterial stalk rot, Brown spot, Common Rust, Aspergillus ear Rot, Curvularia Leaf spot and Sorghum downy mildew).
  • Photos collected for different insect pests (Sesamia inferens, Chilo partellus and Spodoptera  frugiperda).