Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan
Swapan Datta has vast experience in plant biotechnology and agricultural science. Associated with Prof. Wenzel as DAAD Fellow at Institute of Resistance Genetics, Germany, Prof. Ingo Potrykus at ETH-Zurich and Prof. Gurdev Khush at IRRI, Philippines (1985–2005), he developed genetically improved rice, e.g., Golden Indica rice, high iron rice, sheath blight resistant rice, DH wheat, barley and rice, etc. He is the recipient of several awards including Paul Johnnes Brouhl Memorial Medal (2009) and Panchanan Maheshwari medal for significant contributions in embryogenesis and plant biotechnology. He has published over 150 research papers, many of which have appeared in Nature, Science, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Genetics, Plant Journal, etc. He has supervised more than 34 PhD students from different countries. He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2017.
Session 3B: Inaugural Lectures by Associate/Fellows
Chairperson: S N Tandon, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Pune
Biofortified rice with enhanced nutrition
The speaker will talk about his studies involving the transgenic rice line with soybean ferritin gene, which showed accumulation of about 2.5 times more iron content in their endosperm, when compared with a non-transformed control of the same variety. Here, an over-expression vector containing the ferritin gene (cloned from rice) under control of endosperm-specific glutelin/globulin promoter was used to transform rice cultivar. He will also discuss successful attempts that were made to generate marker-free high carotenoid transgenic lines of Indica rice that accumulates carotenoids in seed endosperm. The presentation will also explore the process of transformation of local rice variety, Swarna Sub1, which was done with a constructed RNAi vector containing lox gene under aleurone tissue-specific eosin promoter to stabilise the levels of carotenoids in polished rice. To improve the bioavailability of iron and phosphorus from rice, reduction of phytic acid content in rice seeds plays an important role. The talk will also explore the importance of reduction of phytic acid content in rice seeds and bioengineering methods employed to achieve this. Engineered rice with high iron, low phytate and enhanced pro-vitamin A could serve as dream rice for better nutrition rich staple rice – food for the people who need them most.