National Institute of Plant Genome Research
    Prof. Sushil Kumar
    INSA, Senior Scientist
    Tel: 91-11-26741612,14,17 Ext.- 177
    Direct - 26735177
    Fax: 91-11-26741658
 Research Interest
Basic and applied genomics/genetics in food and industrial crops
Studies are in progress in the medicinal-cum-ornamental species Catharanthus roseus, field grain pea Pisum sativum and spring bread wheat Triticum aestivum. System-wise objectives are outlined below.
A. Catharanthus roseus
The overall objective is to construct lines that on one hand hyper-accumulate the pharmaceutical alkaloids vindoline, catharanthine, serpentine (+ ajmalicine) and vinblastine (+ vincristine) and on the other hand harbor new floricultural traits. Towards the former objective work is in progress to develop detailed genetic map. Using recombinant inbred lines from intervarietal and interspecific crosses, a variety of DNA and morphological markers and QTLs for alkaloid yield are being placed on the map. A set of glycophytic salinity response (gsr) mutants are undergoing characterization to reveal genetic mechanisms that underlie their pleiotropic features. Also, ornamental lines with new features are being developed from interspecific crosses involving gsr mutants.
B. Pisum sativum
In vivo and in vitro experiments are in progress to dissect the pathway of compound leaf morphogenesis,which in pea is distinct from that in other model plants. Morphological, anatomical, gene expression and mapping techniques are being deployed to reveal the interactions between leafblade genes unifoliata, multifoliate pinna, tendril-less and afila and stipuleblade genes stipule- and cochleata.
C. Triticum aestivum
This work is aimed at engineering the wheat crop for its double or tandem cropping, in the winter season in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The genes responsible for phenological plasticity, that allows flowering independent of temperature and photoperiod, are being mapped and pyramided, using a set of characterized genetic resources.
 Selected Publications
Pandey-Rai S, Luthra R and Kumar S (2003) Salt tolerant mutants in GLYCOPHYTIC SALINITY RESPONSE (GSR) genes in Catharanthus roseus. Theoret. App.Gen. 106: 221-230.
Kumar S, Rai SK, Pandey-Rai S, Srivastava S and Singh D (2004) Regulation of unipinnate character in the distal tendrilled domain of compound leaf-blade by the gene MULTIFOLIATE PINNA (MFP) in pea Pisum sativum. Plant Science 166: 929-940.
Kumar S (2007) Climate change and crop breeding objectives in the twenty first century. Current Science 90: 1053-1054.
Gupta S, Pandey-Rai S, Srivastava S, Naithani SC, Prasad M and Kumar S (2007). Construction of primary genetic linkage map of medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus. Journal of Genetics 86: 259-268.
 Project participants
 Swati Chaudhary, Renu Kumari, Arvind Kumar, R. K. Mishra, Richa Pandey, Chitra Singh, Asis Datta, Manoj Prasad and Sushil Kumar