Maharashtra Gene Bank Project

Recently, Maharashtra Cabinet approved the ‘Maharashtra Gene Bank’, a first-of-its-kind project in India.

What is the objective of the Maharashtra Gene Bank Project?

To conserve genetic resources in Maharashtra including marine diversity, seeds of local crops, and animal diversity.

What are the seven themes of the project?

The ‘Maharashtra Gene Bank Project’ will work on seven themes:

  1. Marine biodiversity
  2. Local crop/seed varieties
  3. Indigenous cattle breeds
  4. Freshwater biodiversity
  5. Grassland, scrubland, and animal grazing land biodiversity
  6. Conservation and management plans for areas under forest right
  7. Rejuvenation of forest areas.

What will be the expenditure under the project?

In the next five years, an amount of ₹172.39 crores will be spent on these seven focus areas.

What are the major activities under the project?

  • Indigenous knowledge resources will be tapped.
  • The species and the knowledge of local communities will be well documented.
  • Genetic and molecular samples will be preserved and their breeders will be supported.
  • To preserve crop biodiversity, the government will encourage genome carriers who conserve seeds of local crop varieties and create seed banks.

What are the famous local species of Maharashtra?

  • Cattle species: Gavlau, Dangi, and Kandhari cows that are found in Wardha, north Maharashtra, and Marathwada, respectively.
  • Osmanabadi breed of goats
  • Pandharpuri buffalo.

What will be the benefits of the project?

  • Conserving and protecting biodiversity.
  • Mitigating the impact of climate change on the food chain.

Who will implement the project?

  • The project will be implemented by the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) and will be overseen by committees under the chief secretary and the principal secretary (forests).
  • The MSBB will coordinate with institutions like the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) Goa to document and conserve rare and endangered marine species.

What is the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO)?

NIO is one of the 37 constituent laboratories of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi. It was established in 1966. It is a multi-disciplinary oceanographic research institute. The major research areas include the four traditional branches of oceanography – biological, chemical, geological/geophysical, and physical – as well as ocean engineering, marine instrumentation, and marine archaeology.

What is Genetic diversity?

It is the variation in genes and genotypes within a species. Genetic diversity plays an important role in the survival of a species.

Who established the National Gene Bank of India?

The Indian National Gene Bank has been established by the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) to conserve the national heritage of germplasm collections in the form of seeds, vegetative propagules, tissue/cell cultures, embryos, gametes, etc. National Gene Bank can preserve about one million germplasm in the form of seeds.

What is the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR)?

National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) was established in 1976 as the nodal agency at the National level for the Management of plant genetic resources (PGR) for food and agriculture, and to carry out related research and human resource development.

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