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Darshna Vyas

My position at LGC as plant genetics specialist for the past 5 years has enabled LGC to help the Generation Challenge Program achieve the objectives of the use of KASP assay genotyping as advanced molecular marker tools to help breeders in developing countries to progress marker assisted selection (MAS) for 12 agronomically important crops. The ‘complete solution’ capabilities of LGC KASP genotyping will be applied to the African Orphan Crops consortium and a successful industrial grant application for rice conferring disease resistance to BLAST and Blb which will to continue helping developing MAS in challenging environments for varietal advancement, on which my experience will be applied and help my personal goals to be achieved.

A 28 year career began at the James Hutton institute formerly the Scottish Crop Research Institute to develop molecular markers for disease resistance in Raspberries. My crop development experience continued at Biogemma UK Ltd for a period of 13 years, where I worked primarily on in the cereal crops wheat, maize and Barley. SSR methodology development and SNP discovery for starch biosynthetic enzymes were major involvements taken at Biogemma.

The opportunity to participate in the Artemisia project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation at York University was an important step towards understanding the requirements by breeders for varietal development using molecular markers in MAS. Field trial management in Kenya, Uganda, China, India and Madagascar saw the development of successful commercial scale Artemisa varietal development for the sustainable supply of artemisinin for Artemisinin Combination Therapy production.

The use of high throughput methods such as SNPseq maintains personal goals and objectives to further breeding programs for global agricultural sustainability.

The need to address to challenges for sustainable agricultural production will rely on the advancement of agricultural management and the utilisation of cost efficient sequence based technologies such as SNPseq. The application of high density markers with flexible sample numbers will aid in the 4 -6 % increase genetic gain globally for all major crops through genomic selection breeding strategies.