Biotechnology harnesses cellular and bio-molecular processes to develop solutions that help solve problems in many areas especially in agriculture and environment. The Biotechnology Department at NACGRAB was established in 1999 to carry out Research and Development (R&D) activities that complement the mandate of the Centre on conservation and maintenance of Genetic Resources (GR) using Tissue Culture and Molecular Biology techniques.
Molecular Biology Section – is responsible for characterization and evaluation of plant and animal genetic resources
Tissue Culture Section –is responsible for in vitro conservation, regeneration and multiplication of agronomic, horticultural and tree crop species of economic and medicinal importance.
The Molecular Biology (MB) Section handles activities relating to:
- Molecular Fingerprinting of collected and conserved germplasm using molecular makers approach for the purpose of identification and reduction of vast collections to their genetic variants.
- Molecular screening of genetic resources for traits of economic and medicinal importance.
- Pathological screening and molecular diagnosis of germplasm infections from plants, animals and microbes.
- Training of students, researchers and scientists from various Institutions in different aspects of molecular biology.
The Tissue Culture (TC) Section handles the following highlighted activities among others:
- In vitro regeneration and conservation of plant genetic resources for immediate utilization and posterity.
- Development of in vitro multiplication protocol for agronomic, horticultural and tree crop species such as Pineapple, Banana/Plantain, Jatropha, Eucalyptus etc.
- Research and Development on plant genetic resources conservation and utilization.
- Dissemination of technological information through publications, conferences etc.
- Mass propagation of economic and agronomic crop species using Temporary Immersion Bioreactor (TIBs) based on demand.
- Training of Industrial Trainees, research students and scientist/researchers on the use of and applications of Tissue Culture techniques.
- Production of quality seedlings for farmers.
PLANT SPECIES CURRENTLY CONSERVED IN VITRO IN THE TISSUE CULTURE LABORATORY
- Ananas comosus
- Musa parasidiaca
- Discorea sp
- Artemisia annua
- Eucalyptus camadulensis
- Saccharum officinarum
- Manihot esculentus
- Impomea batatas
- Jatropha curcas
- Passiflora edulis
- Senecio biafrae
- Telfaria occidentalis
- Hibbiscus cannabinus / H. sabdariffa
- Solanum gilo
- Azadiracta indica
- Voacanga africana
- Picrilima nitida
- Khaya grandifolia
- Tetrapleura tetraptera
- Phoenix dactilifera
- Parkia biglobosa
- Moringa oleifera
- Morinda lucidaAfzelia africana
- NACGRAB/UNILAG/NABDA – Environmental Protection (desertification control, soil erosion control and bioremediation).
- NACGRAB/UNILAG- DNA barcoding and molecular characterization of medicinal plants at the Gashaka-gumpti national park.
- NACGRAB/UAM- Barcoding of fresh water fishes in Nigeria
- NACGRAB/IITA/YIIFSWA-In vitro mass propagation of selected improved yam varieties under the Yam improvement for Incomes and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture:
– The project aims at providing disease-free planting materials of yam to the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, to supply the country’s need in pre-basic seed yam under YIIFSWA-II. In addition, NACGRAB will supply seed companies and private sectors with initial plantlets for their aeroponics system.
– The project also has established an ongoing relationship between NACGRAB and Context Global Development, USA, to develop business models for pre-basic planting materials and be trained on the business aspect of YIIFSWA.
- NACGRAB/FUMMAN – collaboration on the supply of pineapple seedlings
- The Unit in collaboration with the Department of Botany, University of Lagos under the Competitive Agricultural Research Grant Scheme (CARGS) Project carried out barcoding of Arid Flora.
- Successful collection and identificationfrom two water bodies in the Southwest (Asejire and Eleyele Water Dams) and two in the middle-belt (Kanji Dam, Niger State and Benue River) in collaboration with Animal Genetic Resources Unit (AnGR) and University of Agriculture, Makurdi in Benue State.
- Two hundred and sixteen sorghum accessions have been successfully characterized using microsatellite markers.
- One hundred and sixty-four (164) pearl millet accessions from the genebank have been characterized using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers.
- Successful completion of bench work by students for various categories of programmes including B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD over the years involving different organisms which include: E. coli, Salmonella spp., Sorghum bicolor (Sorghum), Irvengia spp. (Bush mango), Sesamum indicum(Sesame), Capsicum spp.(Pepper), Cichlid spp. (Fish) among others.
- Successful development of protocols for in vitro regeneration, conservation and mass propagation of some agronomic and tree crop species using Conventional Tissue Culture (CTC) and TIBs, to provide improved planting materials for farmers.
- Successful installation of a larger capacity of TIBs (SETIS) and an alternative power generation source for TC growth rooms by YIIFSWA for higher yam multiplication rate and output.
- Several plantlets / seedlings of Pineapple, Plantain and Banana have been sold to local farmers and business ventures.
Several students, researchers and scientists from different institutions have been trained on different areas of Tissue culture and molecular biology.