A “National Workshop-cum-Webinar on Genome Editing” was organized from June 27 to July 3, 2022 online with an objective of communicating the advances in science and technology to young students and researchers.
This workshop was organized under the Chairmanship of Prof KC Bansal, Secretary of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), New Delhi, who is a former Director of the premier institution of ICAR, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR). The workshop was Co-Chaired by a world-renowned scientist Prof Yiping Qi, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, USA.
The 7-day online workshop was attended by over 350 young researchers and faculty members belonging to various fields of biotechnology.
The speakers for the workshop were drawn from different national institutes like IISc, Bangalore; NCBS, Bangalore; CSIR-IGIB, New Delhi; CSIR-CCMB, Hyderabad; IIT, Kharagpur; DBT-NABI, Mohali; DBT-NIPGR, New Delhi; IISER, Mohali; ICAR-IARI, New Delhi and ICAR-NRRI, Cuttack. The resource speakers are the world class experts, highly experienced and renowned in their respective fields.
This was one of its kind workshop where Genome Editing was covered from the basics to advanced applications as investigated by researchers themselves in different organisms including model plant species, Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, yeast, mammalian and stem cells, for sustainable agriculture, better nutrition, health benefits and environmental sustainability.
In the inaugural talk on June 27, 2022, Prof KC Bansal highlighted the current state of Genome Editing and mentioned that “Since the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 based genome editing technology in 2012, the world is witnessing an unprecedented revolution in its use for various applications for genetic improvement and modification of various organisms.” He also mentioned that since Government of India has recently issued guidelines easing the norms for bio-safety assessment for developing genome-edited crops, more opportunities have opened for research and development in this field, and therefore, this workshop is the need of the hour.
The Gene Editing technology enables the manipulation of targeted genes in a precise and efficient manner in many organisms and cell lines, and has become indispensable for all life science researchers globally, ranging from agriculture to pharma to health sectors. He also provided a brief of the future developments and directions of the emerging genome editing tools and technologies.
Prof Yiping Qi of Maryland University, USA delivered the Keynote address. He is involved in the development of new tools for simultaneously editing different traits for crop improvement. In his Keynote address, he presented his research on RNA-guided CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) systems and a versatile CRISPR-Combo platform, for simultaneous genome editing and gene activation in plants.
The other speakers who spoke at the event included Dr KA Molla, Scientist, NRRI, Cuttack, who was Convener of the workshop; Dr Siddharth Tiwari, Scientist, NABI, Mohali; Dr P Chandra Shekar, Principal Scientist, CSIR-CCMB, Hyderabad; Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty, Senior Scientist, CSIR-IGIB, New Delhi; Dr Viswanathan Chinnusamy, Principal Scientist, IARI, New Delhi, Dr Naveen Bisht, Staff Scientist V, NIPGR, New Delhi, Dr Kavita Babu, Principal Investigator, IISc, Bangalore; Dr Deepti Trivedi Vyas, Scientist, NCBS, Bangalore; Dr Amit Ghosh, Assistant Professor, IIT, Kharagpur; Dr Basudev Ghoshal, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Dr D T Singh, Founder & President, CloudSeq Pte Ltd, Singapore.
The valedictory function of the workshop was held on Sunday, July 3, 2022, with Dr Ashwani Pareek, Executive Director, National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali as the Chief Guest. Dr Ashwani Pareek, in his Valedictory Address stressed on the importance of the genome editing in agriculture and food sectors and called upon the young biotechnology scientists to be the “Technology Ambassadors”. He asked them to take up and promote this technology in their respective fields.
The workshop was organized by the Chandigarh based Glostem Private Limited, an organization involved in organizing and managing scientific events for the last 10 years, in association with the Indian National Young Academy of Sciences.