Using chickpea as the case species, one of the proposed 11 hubs of DivSeek International will develop and refine tools to accelerate the use of its natural genetic diversity to advance crop improvement.

Scientists in this hub will be studying the genetic determinants on a single chromosome to create the HapCat (haplotypes catalogue) and to analyze the PanGenome i.e. the entire gene set of all strains of a species. The aim is to provide a common and scalable sequencing data analysis platform and a community focal point for researchers primarily generating sequencing data for utilizing genetic diversity in crop improvement programs.

The HapCat and PanGenome Hub will be led by Dr Rajeev K Varshney, ICRISAT, India, in collaboration with Dr Dave Edwards, The University of Western Australia, Australia and Dr Kuldeep Singh, Indian Council of Agricultural Research ICAR- National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, India.

Activities in the Hub Pilots include:

  • Facilitating connections between culinary experts, anthropologists, sociologists, ecologists, database engineers, genomic and phenomics experts to expand the characterization of crop diversity to include flavor, culinary uses, and traditional agricultural practices.
  • Identifying common practices for the characterization of emerging crops, recently domesticated and novel crops, locally adapted germplasm and regionally important crops, including African staple food crops.
  • Providing evidence-based perspectives for sharing information about plant genetic resources, the technological requirements for data-sharing across constituencies, and non-monetary benefit sharing practices of researchers that align with international treaties.

DivSeek International’s operations are funded by Genome Canada, Genome Prairie and the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan. The organization currently has 67 member institutions representing 28 countries and has established a Secretariat in Saskatoon hosted by GIFS.


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