NAHEP-CAAST training programme on “Genome assisted diagnosis of plant viruses, viroids and phytoplasmas” was organized during October 15- 24, 2019, at Advanced Centre for Plant Virology, Division of Plant Pathology, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. The training was attended by twenty-five students from 16 different universities located in 16 different states. Dr. Rashmi Aggarwal, Dean and Joint Director Education and Head, Division of Plant Pathology graced the inaugural function as the Chief Guest, which was also graced by the presence of Dr. C. Vishwanathan, PI, CAAST and by Dr. K. M. Manjaiah, Nodal Officer, CAAST.

A total of 14 lectures were delivered by eminent scientists from IARI and outside IARI. The lectures encompassed both basic and advanced areas of genome assisted diagnosis of viruses, viroids and phytoplasmas including introduction to plant viruses, their transmission, protein based detection of plant viruses, use of viral genome sequence for virus classification and diagnosis, characterization and detection of viroids infecting horticultural crops, use of genome sequences for nucleic acid based detection, genome based detection of phytoplasma, genome characterization of circular DNA viruses using rolling circle amplification, electron microscopy, real-time PCR and bioinformatics.

Nine practical sessions comprised on DAC/DAS-ELISA, plant virus transmission by whitefly, RT-PCR based detection of viruses and viroids, nested PCR based detection of phytoplasmas, multiplex PCR, rolling circle amplification (RCA) of circular viruses, electron microscopy, qPCR and bioinformatic analysis were also conducted as the part of training schedule.Visit to different facilities, viz., electron microscope facility, confocal microscopy and containment facility was also organized for the trainees.

Dr. A. K. Singh, Director, ICAR-IARI and DDG (Extension) graced the valedictory function with his inspiring valedictory talk and presented the certificates to the student trainees on October 24, 2019.