NAHEP-CAAST training programme on “Pathophenotyping and Genome guided Characterization of Rust fungi infecting Wheat and other Cereals” was organized during January 22 – February 01, 2020 at the Division of Plant Pathology, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. The training was attended by 24 students (8 MSc & 17 PhD) from 18 different universities located in 15 different states of the country. Dr. R.C. Agrawal Sir, DDG (Agric. Edn.), ICAR graced the Inaugural Function as the Chief Guest and Dr. Ashok K. Singh Sir, Director, IARI chaired the programme as Guest of Honour. Function was also graced by the presence of Dr. Rashmi Aggarwal Madam, Dean & Joint Director (Edn.), IARI and Dr. K.M. Manjaiah Sir, Nodal Officer, NAHEP-CAAST.

A total of 20 Lectures were delivered by eminent scientists from IARI and outside including IIWBR, Karnal and NIPB, New Delhi. The lectures encompassed both basic and advanced areas of Pathophenotyping and Genome assisted Characterization of Rust fungi infecting Wheat and other Cereals including global importance of wheat & barley with special emphasis on research & development in India, overview of Cereal Rust Fungi, Molecular Phylogeny: Principles and Practice, Concepts of Rust Resistance in Wheat, Crop Health Monitoring and Surveillance of Wheat Diseases, Pathogenic and Molecular Variability, Physiological Specialization in Wheat Rusts And Identification of Pathotypes, Strategies for Genome Sequencing of Fungal Plant Pathogens, Unravelling the Genomes of Bread Wheat and its Leaf Rust Pathogen for Accelerated Wheat Improvement, Genetics of Rusts Resistance in Wheat, Identification, Mapping and Fast Track Introgression of Rust Resistant Genes in Wheat and Pathogenomics of Major Fungal Pathogens of Wheat, Development of their Diagnostics and their Management.

Nine Practical Sessions comprised on survey, sampling, establishment, multiplication, uredospore collection, inoculation, maintenance and storage of rust pathogens; Pathotype analysis; Rust screening at Seedling & Adult Plant Stages, Phenotyping for rust resistance genes; Gene postulation; Development of PCR based assay for detection of rusts; Molecular characterization and phylogenetic relationship among rust races; Molecular characterization of rust resistance genes Genome sequencing; Bioinformatic software and tools for NGS data analysis were also conducted as the part of training schedule.

Visit to different facilities viz. electron microscope facility, confocal microscopy, phenomics, phytotron ang genome sequencer facility was also organized for the trainees. Also, we have done Pre and Post Evaluation Tests of the trainees, and we have seen significant increase in the performance of the trainees. Dr. A. K. Singh, Director, ICAR-IARI graced the valedictory function with his inspiring valedictory talk and presented the certificates to the student trainees on 01st February 2020.