Novel genetic marker-assisted breeding produced a pearl millet hybrid grown on 700,000 ha of drought-prone areas in Northern India which has improved food security of three million people

Research using novel techniques of genetic marker-aided selection enabled the development of new high yield, disease- and drought-resistant pearl millet hybrids, of which HHB67-Improved was released throughout India. HHB67-Improved is the first product of marker-assisted breeding to reach cereal producers in India and has spread rapidly since its release, preventing yield losses to downy mildew of up to 30% (valued at £7.8M) per year, and providing £2.6M additional annual grain yield. By 2011, it was grown on over 700,000 ha and currently three million people have improved food security as a direct result of this international development focused work. For more information contact Prof John Witcombe or Dr Katherine Steele.