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PAU Hosts Fulbright Specialist from US for Genome Editing Workshop

Led by renowned expert Dr. Bing Yang from the University of Missouri, USA, the 'Advances in Genome Editing Tools' workshop at Punjab Agricultural University explores cutting-edge technology to improve crop resilience and address agricultural issues.

Saurabh Shukla
PAU Hosts Fulbright Specialist from US for Genome Editing Workshop
PAU Hosts Fulbright Specialist from US for Genome Editing Workshop

A ten-day workshop on 'Advances in Genome Editing Tools' commenced today at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), with an inaugural ceremony graced by esteemed personalities from academia and research. Among the dignitaries present were PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal and Dr. Bing Yang, Professor from the College of Agriculture, University of Missouri, USA. Starting on April 22, 2024, and lasting for ten days, the workshop ends on May 01, 2024.

Dr. Bing Yang, leading the workshop under the Fulbright Specialist Program at PAU’s School of Agricultural Biotechnology, shed light on his research focus and the Yang Laboratory's accomplishments. Their work primarily centers on unravelling molecular intricacies related to disease susceptibility and resistance in crops, notably focusing on bacterial blight in rice crops. Additionally, they specialize in utilizing genome editing technologies to engineer improved traits, particularly disease resistance in crop plants.

Genome editing technologies, according to Dr. Yang, have emerged as powerful tools for scientists to understand and manipulate complex genomes with precision. Notably, TALENs and CRISPR/Cas are at the forefront, offering immense potential in defining genetic traits and facilitating the introduction of desired genes into cultivated varieties efficiently and economically.

Dr. Yang highlighted the utility of genome editing in identifying problematic pathogens in bacteria, aiding in understanding pathogen functions and devising strategies to combat infections that affect crop yields. The revolutionary CRISPR technique accelerates the process of homologous recombination, which was previously known to be ineffective and time-consuming.

In his remarks, Dr. S.S. Gosal expressed gratitude for hosting Dr. Bing Yang, recognizing his expertise in genome editing technologies and their potential to address challenges faced by farmers. He emphasized the importance of embracing advanced technologies to enhance crop resilience and combat pests and diseases, reiterating PAU's commitment to utilizing biotechnological tools for precise crop improvement.

The workshop's objectives, highlighted by the Director of PAU’s School of Agricultural Biotechnology, aim to provide hands-on training to students, research staff, and faculty in prime editing/base editing tools. Participants are expected to enhance their expertise in genome editing under Dr. Bing Yang’s guidance, contributing to PAU’s crop improvement programs and wider applications of genome editing in agriculture.

Dr. Priti Sharma, Assistant Professor (Biotechnology), concluded the event by extending gratitude to all stakeholders for their contributions towards making the workshop a success. She encouraged participants to leverage the knowledge gained to drive meaningful contributions towards agricultural sustainability and societal welfare.

The workshop promises to be a crucial platform for advancing research and applications in genome editing, ultimately contributing to the betterment of agriculture and society at large.

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