NRCPB (National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology) is a premiere research institution of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The institute was founded in 1985 as the ‘Biotechnology Centre’ of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) for molecular biology and biotechnology research in crop plants. The prescience of the role of biotechnology in agriculture led to a bigger responsibility for this centre and it was elevated as National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology in the year 1993.
With a humble beginning and a few dedicated scientists, the centre could successfully deliver varieties such as Pusa Jai Kisan, which is one of the top three mustard varieties released by the ICAR till date. Besides, the centre has released a rice variety Improved Pusa Basmati-1 resistant to bacterial leaf blight using marker assisted selection (MAS) in collaboration with the Division of Genetics, IARI. Moricandia based CMS system developed at NRCPB has contributed to the commercial production of mustard hybrids namely NRC Sankar Sarson (DRMR, Bharatpur) and Coral 432 (Advanta India). The rice blast resistance gene Pi54 identified, mapped, cloned and characterized at NRCPB has been transferred in mega varieties of rice like Pusa Basmati and BPT 5204 and in many other varieties by the rice breeders using MAS. The centre has matched steps with the changing time and conducted research in basic and applied research for crop improvement resulting in many publications in high impact factor journals, patents and public private partnerships. The state-of-the-art infrastructure and expertise of the scientists have enabled the successful execution of International (rice, tomato and wheat) and National (Pigeonpea, Mango, Mesorhizobium, Puccinia and Magnaporthe) genome sequencing projects.
NRCPB is also engaged in teaching postgraduate students with regular PhD and MSc degree programmes in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.
The centre takes lead and has contributed substantially towards human resource development by developing strong inter-and intra-institutional linkages and organizing training programmes, summer/winter schools sponsored by Education Division of ICAR as well as other major National funding agencies.