|The Bioinformatics Centre of the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) Calicut, hosted a two day National Consultative Meet on Bioinformatics in Horticulture from October 11-12 at the Institute campus. The meet, styled ‘Hortinformatics 2010’ was inaugurated by Dr. H P Singh, Deputy Director General of Horticulture, ICAR, New Delhi.|
|“Application of various bioinformatics tools should be well understood and explored by all the scientists to enhance their efficiency in fast expanding science of horticulture,” said Dr. HP Singh in his inaugural address. “In agriculture, the outcome of biotechnology and bioinformatics research must reach the resource poor farmers,” he added.|
|Understanding the potential benefits of research in bioinformatics, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is developing a strong expertise, and builds capacity to take up bioinformatics research to tackle the problems in crops, fishes, animals etc. “We have already launched a National Agricultural Bioinformatics Grid (NABG) as a national facility for the computational bioinformatics for the scientists,” he said.|
|According Dr. Singh, utilization of bioinformatics tools and initiation in genomics had made better understanding of pathogenic organisms like phytoplasmas, viruses and bacteria associated with diseases in many crops. He also pointed out that bioinformatics can contribute to promote databases that will result in preserving biodiversity details of important species and habitats digitally.|
|Dr. VA Parthasarathy, Director of IISR welcomed the gathering and Dr. SJ Eapen, Senior Scientist and Convenor of the meet proposed a vote of thanks.|
|Session on Biodiversity Informatics
On the second day of the meet, a session on biodiversity informatics recommended that ICAR should have a data sharing policy for exchanging huge databases related to biodiversity that are available in various institutes.
The panel discussion also stressed the need for maintaining a single biodiversity database at the national level on the lines of GRIN Global and EOL (Encyclopedia of Life).
A presentation on DNA barcoding-problems, progress and prospects gave some insights to the barcode of life project and discussed major problems pertaining to the barcode of plants. It also recommended for a tiered approach for DNA barcoding of plants and insects.
The session on biodiversity had a special significance as the year 2010 was declared as the international biodiversity year. Dr. M G Bhat, Director, DCR Puttur and Dr. M Anandaraj, Project Coordinator (Spices), IISR who chaired the session stressed the importance of international biodiversity year.
Dr. S Shikhamany, Vice Chancellor, APHU who chaired the plenary session of the two day meet urged the scientist community to take up actions on the recommendations of the various panel discussions. IISR Director, Dr. V A Parthasarathy and Convenor Dr. SJ Eapen also spoke.
|‘Hortinformatics 2010’ was jointly organized by IISR and Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi. Around 100 delegates from more than 30 research institutes and universities participated in the event. Sixteen invited talks were presented by eminent scientists in four technical sessions spread over two days. The technical sessions explored the key areas of bioinformatics such as Genomics & Proteomics, Cheminformatics, Biodiversity informatics, etc. Around 23 scientific posters were also presented during the meet.|