The company is committed to serve the Indian farmers by following new and powerful technologies in crop improvement. This is accomplished by creating a new State of the Art Biotechnology laboratories and crop breeding facilities at Attur, near Salem in Tamil Nadu. The investment for the new center is about Rs. 10 Crores. The new R&D Center was inaugurated on 10th October 2008. The new R&D facilities have laboratories for biotech research, crops research, germplsam conservation, insect bioassay laboratory, library and documentation, and other facilities that cover an area of 40,000 sq. ft. Excellent and modern facilities have been created for undertaking crop biotech research with dedicated and proficient scientific staffs in our R&D centre. The biotech labs are equipped with modern equipments such as PCR machines, refrigerated centrifuges, DNA gel documentation system, various DNA electrophoresis systems including nucleotide sequencing facility, freeze-dryer and various other equipments. A new transgenic greenhouse following the biosafety guidelines of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India has also been created. In addition, the R & D center is well equipped with infrastructural facilities that include research farm of 140 acres, 55000 Sq.Ft. transgenic greenhouse, Seed quality control laboratory, and a State of the art seed processing facilities.
The crop biotechnology activities are carried out in a well equipped Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory. A tissue culture facility to undertake genetic transformation of desirable genes in crops is fully functional.
The main biotech research areas in cotton and different crops include Germplasm characterization through DNA-based markers, DNA fingerprinting of proprietary lines, Marker-assisted selection in cotton, rice and tomato, Bt gene expression and quantification in cotton and development of molecular markers for genetic purity in seeds.
Our Genetic Transformation Laboratory conducts research on development of transgenic crops by transferring Bt genes in rice, brinjal, and bhendi (okra) to protect again borer pests. Further, attempts are also made to incorporate viral resistance genes in bhendi to protect against bhendi yellow vein mosaic disease, in cassava to protect against cassava mosaic disease and in cotton to protect against cotton leaf curl virus.
Studies to diagnose viral diseases, such as cotton leaf curl virus, cassava mosaic virus and bhendi yellow vein mosaic virus are also undertaken, through PCR-based assays.
The future thrust our center would be on marker-assisted selection using DNA markers for several important traits in crops such as rice, wheat, cotton and vegetables. This will involve integration of crop breeding and biotechnology including bioinformatics. We also will intensify our transgenic research in different field crops and vegetables for agronomically important traits besides quality traits.