Plant Breeding Project to Receive $10.3 Million

The Plant Breeding and Diagnostics Technologies project will benefit from $10.3 million in the upcoming fiscal year.
This was revealed in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure currently before the House of Representatives.
The project intends to use radiation to induce mutation to develop plants with desirable characteristics such as resistance to diseases, and improved yields, among other things.
Two main objectives of the project are to establish plant diagnostics and plant breeding facilities in Jamaica and to establish protocols for induced mutations, selection of and advancing mutant lines/clones with farmer specific traits.
Physical achievements of the project up to December 2007, include the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) provision of laboratory supplies and the collection of yam and ginger planting material for multiplication using tissue culture techniques.
Anticipated targets for 2008/09 are: the breeding and screening for drought resistance; the training of local officers in mutation assisted breeding overseas and a national training course on mutation assisted breeding will also be undertaken .
The project, which is being implemented by the Scientific Research Council, began in February last year, and is expected to end in December 2010.
It is funded jointly by the Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which provides grant assistance to countries that are able to undertake certain research, using radiation with mutual benefits.

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