Sunday, November 27, 2011

National Teachers Science Congress concludes in BHU

The four-day National Teachers Science Congress concluded at the Swatantrata Bhavan in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on November 11, 2011 . BHU vice chancellor Professor Lalji Singh was the chief guest at the closing function.

Addressing the function Professor Singh said he had been trying his best to make BHU one of the best universities of the world. He said he wanted to organize International Science Festival in BHU.

Dr BP Singh, head of National Council for Science Teachers, New Delhi also addressed the function.

Photo: PPP Cell-BHU

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thousands take holy dip in Ganga on Kartik Purnima

Thousands took holy dip in Ganga on the auspices occasion of Kartik Purnima in Varanasi on November 10, 2011.
Photo: Samrat

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Illuminated Hazara marks Dev Deepawali in Varanasi

A minaret laced with thousand earthen lamps, traditionally called Hazara, was seen illuminated on the occasion of Dev Deepawali at Panchganga Ghat in Varanasi on November 10, 2011.
Photo: Samrat

Dashaswamedh Ghat lights up on Dev Deepawali

Dev Deepawali was celebrated at Dashaswamedh Ghat with Vedic rituals in Varanasi on November 10, 2011. Only earthen lamps with ghee or oil inside were used to illuminate the entire ghat.
Photo: Samrat

Curtains come down on Ganga Mahotsav

Four-day Ganga Mahotsav concluded at Rajendra Prasad Ghat in Varanasi on November 9, 2011. UP Minister of State for Culture Subhash Pandey was the chief guest at the closing function.

Photo: Samrat

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma adds charm to Ganga Mahotsav in Varanasi

Internationally renowned Santoor exponent Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma added extra charm to the four-day Ganga Mahotsav from November 6 to 9 at Rajendra Prasad Ghat in Varanasi .
Photo: Samrat

Mesmerising programmes mark Ganga Mahotsav

The four-day Ganga Mahotsav at Rajendra Prasad Ghat in Varanasi from November 6 to 9 was a treat to watch. Artistes from different states of the country presented attractive and mesmerising cultural programmes to mark the occasion.
Photo: Samrat

Ganga Mahotsav begins in Varanasi

The four-day Ganga Mahotsav began at Rajendra Prasad Ghat in Varanasi on November 6, 2011. Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) Vinod Singh inaugurated the festival.
Photo: Samrat

'Arhar' genome decoded

Varanasi, November 4, 2011: A group of thirty-one Indian scientists from ICAR Institutes, State Agricultural Universities and Banaras Hindu University, led by Prof. Nagendra Kumar Singh from ICAR’s National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology in New Delhi have decoded the genome of 'Arhar', the second most important pulse crop of India. This is the first plant genome sequenced entirely through a network of Indian institutions and it will provide highly valuable resource for variety improvement of pigeonpea.

Average pulse crop productivity in India has remained low at about 650 kg per hectare for the last six decades leading to soaring ‘Dal’ prices with increasing demands. Lack of high yielding, disease and pest resistant varieties is a major factor for the stagnant pulse productivity. Slow progress in breeding high yielding Arhar varieties is attributed to dearth of genetic information coupled with large crop duration and intractable pod borer problem and poor utilization of wild germplasm resources. Development of DNA markers tightly linked to important agronomic traits is a prerequisite for undertaking molecular breeding in crops. Availability of the Arhar genome sequence will accelerate development of new varieties and hybrids with enhanced productivity by making use of germplasm resources, in a way similar to the rice genome experience.

The genome of popular Arhar variety ‘Asha’ was assembled using long sequence reads of 454-FLXsecond generation sequencing technology resulting in 511 million base pairs of high quality genome sequence information. The scientists have identified 47,004 protein coding genes in the Arhar genome, of which 1,213 genes are for disease resistance and 152 genes for tolerance to drought, heat and salinity that make it a hardy crop. In contrast to soybean, Arhar has fewer number of genes for oil biosynthesis and larger number of genes for cellulose biosynthesis which make it an oil-free woody plant. The genome sequence was used to develop a large number of ‘Arhar’ DNA markers which were experimentally validated for high rate of variation among the pigeonpea varieties. These markers will be useful for DNA fingerprinting and diversity analysis of pigeonpea germplasm and molecular breeding applications.

Until a couple of years ago pigeonpea was considered an orphan legume crop because developed countries would not invest in the research due to the crop being cultivated mainly in the tropical and subtropical countries but now substantial amount of genomic resources have been generated, largely due to the efforts of Indo-US Agricultural Knowledge Initiative (AKI) and Network Project on Transgenics in Crops (NPTC) both with funding support from the ICAR.

Pigeonpea or red gram (‘Arhar’ or ‘Tur’) is an important grain legume (Pulse) crop of India. About 85% of the world pigeonpea is produced and consumed in India where it is a key crop for food and nutritional security of the people. India imports pigeonpea from Myanmar which is the second largest producer. The world acreage of pigeonpea is about 4.90 mha with annual production of about 4.22 mmt worth about 1.5 billion US dollars. India is the largest producer, consumer and importer of pigeonpea with annual production of 3.07 mmt, followed by Myanmar (0.72 mmt) and Malawi (0.15 mmt) (FAOSTAT 2008).

Know More….

How is Arhar genome going to benefit the Indian farmers and general public?

Presently, India is importing about 3 million tones of pulses at cost of about Rs. 7000 crores every year. The large demand supply gap has led to soaring prices of Dal and food inflation. The decoding of Arhar genome has unfolded its complete genetic information content which will help faster development of high yielding, disease resistant and insect resistant varieties of Arhar for higher productivity on the farmer’s field and lower prices of Dal in the market for the general public.

What is the Arhar genome project about?

The Arhar genome project was initiated under Indo-US AKI to generate all kinds of genomic resources in pigeonpea including EST sequences, trait mapping populations, mutant lines, BAC libraries, information databases and finally the complete physical map of the genome. Knowledge of location of each and every gene in the genome will help faster discovery of genes for important agronomic traits such as yield, disease resistance, insect resistance, water logging tolerance and breeding of improved variety of Arhar similar to rice and wheat.

Who funded the Arhar genome project?

The project was supported for four years (2005-06 to 2009-10) through the Education Division of ICAR. For the last two years (2010-11 and 2011-12) the project is being supported by the Crop Science Division of ICAR under NPTC project (Functional Genomics Component). The total cost of generating the first draft of Arhar genome sequence, including the support to AKI partners for arhar genomics resources has been about Rs. 11 crores over the last six years. ICAR is now putting heavy emphasis on the genomics of important indigenous crop plants untouched by the global genomics research.

What was the role of ICRISAT and USA in the Arhar genome project?

Dr. R.K. Varshney from ICRISAT Hyderabad supported by ICAR and GCP projects and Prof. Dough Cook from University of California, Davis USA, supported by an NSF grant were involved in the first phase of the Indo-US AKI project in generating EST resources and BAC-end sequences and SSR markers but after the conclusion of Indo-US AKI in 2009-10, they have not been associated with the Indian Arhar genome sequencing network.

What is the basic genetic information on Arhar?

Number of chromosomes: 11 pairs

Genome size (Physical): 858 Mb (million base pairs)

Genome size (Genetic): 1057 cM (centi Morgan)

How are plants different from animals in terms of total number of genes?

Plants seem to have higher number of genes than animals mainly due to genome duplications (polyploidy), but they also perform additional biological functions of converting solar energy to chemical energy and non-living matter into organic compounds. Also they need a large number of defense genes to survive in the open nature as they cannot run away. Animals on the other hand have more number of genes for highly developed senses and locomotion related functions. For defense they are able created more proteins from less number of genes due to post transcriptional processing of antibody genes.

Press release from PPP Cell-BHU

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chhath celebrated in Varanasi with traditional gaiety and fervour

Four-day Chhath puja festival was celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervour in Varanasi. Thousands offered "Arghya" to the rising sun at different ghats of the city on November 2, 2011.
Photo: Samrat

Waiting for the Sun God to rise

Devotees waited for the Sun God to rise in the East on the auspices occasion of the Chhath puja festival at Dashaswamedh Ghat in Varanasi on November 2, 2o11.
Photo: Samrat

Ganga ghats of Varanasi attract huge rush on Chhath

Thousands of devotees headed towards Dashaswamedh and other ghats of Varanasi to offer "Arghya" (prayers) to Sun God in the evening of November 1, 2011 on the auspices occasion of Chhath.
Photo: Samrat

Security put on high alert for Chhath festival in Varanasi

Uttar Pradesh Police jawans and commandos kept strict vigil on devotees at Dashaswamedh and other ghats of Varanasi on the auspices occasion of Chhath festival on November 1, 2011.
Photo: Samrat

Thousands offer 'Arghya' to Sun God at Dashaswamedh Ghat

Devotees offered "Arghya" to Sun God on the auspices occasion of Chhath Puja at Dashaswamedh Ghat in Varanasi on November 1, 2011.
Photo: Samrat

Rahul Gandhi visits Baburi in Chandauli district

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Rahul Gandhi visited Baburi area in Chandauli district on November 1, 2011and interacted with local people.
Photo: Samrat

Thursday, November 3, 2011

SSL Hospital to have helicopter services for emergency patients

Varanasi, October 31, 2011: Banaras Hindu University vice chancellor Professor Lalji Singh reiterated his commitment to uplift the facilities in SSL Hospital.

Talking to media persons here, Singh said that he had visited the Trauma Center recently to review and expedite the developmental work. He said the Trauma Center will also have a helipad and helicopter services to meet the demand of emergency patients. The air ambulance will be available in the premises of Trauma Center.

Professor Singh said the university will improve its facilities to obtain AIIMS status for SSL Hospital. “We are BHU working seriously in this direction”, he said.

He also stressed importance upon the need of DNA based therapy and diagnostic services in SSL Hospital. He said the future hospital will be of DNA based and emphasis will be to promote predictive and preventive medicine.

The diseases should be targeted to be controlled by predictive and preventive medicine based on DNA Technology rather that going for cure after occurrence of the disease, he added.

He mentioned about gene responsible for sudden cardiac arrest is Myocine Binding Protein C-3. He said that Yoga and Gym facilities would be provided as post treatment for the patients. He expressed his intention to open the Paid and Evening OPD in the hospital once again.

He said he likes transparency in every field and wish to have a very transparent system of examination, academics, research and administration. He expected every body to be frank and bold in pointing out any lapses in the administration. He said he likes his critics more than ‘yes man’.

He wished to develop international facilities like Centralized Cafeteria which can cater to about 5000 students and should also have provision for teachers to have their club near such cafeteria so that the multidisciplinary scientific interaction may take place among the students and between teacher and students.

He also wished to have centralized instrumentation facilities of world class. The vice chancellor mentioned about his dream project of translational research.

“These all facilities will improve the scientific environment and output of international standard and also will attract international faculty”, he said.

Photo and News: PPP Cell-BHU

BHU Students Council members take oath

The oath taking ceremony of the 5th Students Council was held at Students Council building in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on October 24, 2011. BHU vice chancellor Professor Lalji Singh administered the oath to the newly elected members. He also congratulated students for exercising their voting rights peacefully.

Photo: PPP Cell-BHU