Plant Breeding & Genetic Resource Conservation

Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources Conservation Division is extensively working in genetic improvement and conservation of highly important medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) as the core mandate activities. Significant contribution has been made in this direction by developing more than 150 varieties in 48 MAPs species, conserving and maintaining more than 2500 germplasm resources at CSIR-CIMAP Genetic improvement work of Mint species, Cymbopogon species, Ocimum species, Artemisia annua, Sylibum marianam, Withania somnifera, Catharanthus roseus, Papaver somniferum, Vetiveria zizinoides, Rosa damascena, Andrographis paniculata, Satawar species, Geranium, Patchouli, Chamomila recutita is being carried out for a higher herbage and also the yield of secondary metabolites. The Division also has gamma rays induced mutation facility to mutate seed/seedlings of MAP species. The Department has used this facility to develop the first latex-free variety “Sujata” in Papaver somniferum, which is further being characterized for the development of a stable ideotype. The seed quality laboratory is working on the development of seed standards for quality parameters and protocols for seed quality testing of commercially cultivated major medicinal and aromatic crops. Recently, the group has started working on genetic improvement of Indian Cannabis germplasms for developing low THC (<0.3%).

The Division has instrumental expertise in Genetic Resources Conservation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) and having National Gene Bank of MAPs. The germplasm of MAPs is being effectively conserved in the seed bank for short- and mid-term storage. The live plants are conserved in the respective field conservatories namely AYUSH (Traditional system of medicine), UPAJ (Under cultivation), AMRIT (Leads been obtained by CIMAP), FASAL (Released varieties of CIMAP), SRISHTI (Shrubby MAPs), TARUVAR (Tree species of MAPs), MANAV (MAPs depicted in form of their uses in curing the ailments of different body parts of human), PHAL VAN (MAPs mainly used as fruits) and ANKUR (MAPs used for growing new introductions).

The Botany and Pharmacognosy Laboratory of the Division is extensively working on the survey, collection, authentication of MAPs from different phytogeographical regions of the country and their introduction in CSIR-CIMAP for developing new chemotypes and varieties. Our group involved in Classical and Molecular Taxonomy of Angiosperms, Phylogeny, Population Biology, Markers, Genetic Diversity, Botanical Authentication, DNA Barcoding. The Institute have state-of-the-art facilities of designated National Herbarium of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) and Crude Drug Repository (CDR). Enhancement of herbarium specimens and crude drugs in the repository of CIMAP and its maintenance. The Lab has a NABL accreditation for authentication of various plant samples.

The Division has also contributed to the income and employment generation of farmers by providing high yielding varieties to the farmers for cultivation as per the industrial requirement.