The Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering Laboratory at Vasantdada Sugar Institute was established in 2002 to develop and improve sugarcane varieties through modern tools of Biotechnology. The facility was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India on the 30th November of 2002, is first of its kind in the country undertaking genetic engineering research exclusively on sugarcane crop. The faculty is pursuing research programs on molecular characterization of the sugarcane genome, molecular diagnostics for diseases, and mining genes for abiotic and biotic stress resistance. Program on marker assisted breeding in sugarcane has been initiated to support the strong sugarcane hybridization program recently initiated at the Institute, which has a large collection sugarcane germplasm at Sugarcane Breeding Unit established at Amboli.
Transgenic sugarcane program has been initiated to develop sugarcane varieties resistance to insect pests using cry genes by biolistic gun and Agrobacterium mediated gene transfer methods. Very good progress has been made to isolate and characterize the genes which are associated with drought and salinity tolerance in sugarcane by adapting AP-PCR, as well as SSH cDNA technology. We have facilitated the Commercial sugarcane tissue culture program, which has the capacity to produce 20-lakh seedlings per year, through marker technology to distinguish the somoclonal variation and genetic fidelity in tissue culture plants. We have mandate to isolate genes and promoters in house to address the patent related issues while developing transgenic to avoid the costs on royalty, to reduce the cost of development.
The Institute is by the Farmers, of the Farmers and for the Farmers. We have the commitment to develop sugarcane varieties, which are Farmer’s friendly and Eco-friendly, best suited for the Country. Our Vision is to be “THE LEADERS IN SUGARCANE BIOTECHNOLOGY”.