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Plant Mutation Breeding Network for Asia Pacific Initiated


  The First Workshop of the Plant Mutation Breeding Network for the Asia Pacific Region (MBN) was held in Jingzhou, Hubei, China from July 22 to 25, 2019. This event will be beneficial to promote fundamental and applied research and foster regional cooperation in the field of plant mutation breeding in the Asia Pacific region to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Representatives from 13 Member Countries including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam, three Observers from Australia, Cuba and Senegalese respectively, and two international organizations Joint FAO/IAEA Division and ICRISAT as well as breeders and researchers from local institutions and universities attended the workshop.


  The Workshop was organized by Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Yangtze University, with the technical support of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, co-organized by the Chinese Society of Nuclear Agricultural Sciences, National Center of Space Mutagenesis for Crop Improvement and 13th Five-year Plan of Key R & D Program of Crop Mutation Breeding. Mr. Zheng Feng, the President of Yangtze University, Ms. Yuqiu Sun, Vice Mayor of Jingzhou City, Ms. Lin Zhai, Division Chief of Department of International Cooperation, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS), Mr. Luxiang Liu, Deputy Director General of Institute of Crop Sciences, CAAS, Ms. Sobhana Sivasankar, Section Head of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Joint FAO/IAEA Division presented and addressed at the opening ceremony.


  During the Workshop, invited local and international presentations and Member Country’s reports were presented in terms of general capacity in mutation breeding and biotechnology, recent progresses and success stories in the Member Countries. Up to now, a total of 3246 mutant varieties have been bred through induced mutation approach and officially released based on the FAO/IAEA Mutant Variety Database  (http://mvd.iaea.org/), and among them, over 2000 were contributed from the Member Countries in the Asia Pacific Region. Dissemination and cultivation of these mutant varieties have made great and significant impact in enhancement of food security and increasing local farmer’s income in the Region. The success stories such as rice mutant variety Khang Dan from Viet Nam, rice mutant varieties RD6 and RD15 from Thailand, groundnut mutant variety TG26 from India, sorghum mutant variety Pahat from Indonesia, cotton mutant variety NIAB-Karishma and mungbean mutant variety NM-2016 from Pakistan, banana mutant variety Novaria from Malaysia, wheat mutant variety Luyuan502 from China, etc.. The participants were engaged in extensive discussion on enhancing mutant germplasm exchange, sharing mutation techniques, protocals and platforms, identifying and utilization of mutant genes, strengthening capability of young researchers, enabling joint resource mobilization for funding and steering process under MBN, and a “Jingzhou Proposal” was formed during this meeting.

  It is agreed that three Member Countries, i.e., China, Indonesia and India plus FAO/IAEA Joint Division would be in Steering Committee of the MBN and the MBN Chair with 2-year rotations. The current Chair is China, with the representative of Mr Luxiang Liu (MBN Chair), and MBN Focal Person to be FAO/IAEA Joint Division Ms Sobhana Sivasankar. The second MBN Workshop will be held in 2021.


  The Mutation Breeding Network for the Asia Pacific Region, with the active technical support of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, shall aim to improve the efficiency of crop mutation breeding, by (a) encouraging and facilitating the exchange of mutant germplasm for breeding purposes, (b) by accelerating mutant trait discovery and marker development for agronomically important traits, and (c) by developing molecular markers for mutant traits to improve the efficiency of mutation breeding. In September 2017, the Technical Meeting on Plant Mutation Breeding hosted by National Nuclear Energy Agency of Indonesia in Bali Island, and the Bali Proposal delivered by the meeting recommended to establish a network to improve the efficiency of crop mutation breeding in Asia Pacific Region. In August 2018, a follow up discussion was held on the topic in Vienna during the FAO/IAEA International Symposium on Plant Mutation Breeding and Biotechnology. In May 2019, the Consultants Meeting for the Implementation of a Pilot Mutation Breeding Network for the Asia Pacific Region was held at the Headquarters of FAO/IAEA in Vienna.