Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has been one among a few front-runners to initiate "Biotechnology" teaching way back in 1987. Thanks to the support of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India for extending the financial support for the cause of manpower development since 1988.
Research and education in Biotechnology at TNAU had its genesis through the university plan scheme "Creation of a new department of biotechnological research" under the then Directorate of School of Genetics. A master plan on "Agricultural Biotechnology 1987-2000" with the objectives of carrying out advanced research and teaching MSc and PhD courses in Agricultural biotechnology was passed by the Board of Management in its 71st meeting held on 14. 3. 1988. Further in 1988 the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, New Delhi sanctioned the "Postgraduate education and training programme leading to MSc in Agricultural Biotechnology" which gave a national colour to the biotechnology education at TNAU.
During 1993, the Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology was created by merging the above, university plan scheme and GOI-DBT supported programme on Agricultural biotechnology. Besides the postgraduate programs, a B. Tech (Biotechnology) four year undergraduate course was offered at this department since the year 2002. The Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology functioned under the then School of Genetics until 1990, later came under the Centre for Plant Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (earlier CPMB). Presently with the reconstitution of the departments under CPMB&B, it is henceforth functioning as "Department of Plant Biotechnology".
Research activities of this Department are focused towards developing improved crop varieties in major crops viz., rice, maize, cotton, mung bean, brinjal, sorghum, tomato, banana, etc., through various biotechnological approaches viz., tissue culture, marker assisted breeding and genetic transformation. This centre is offering an undergraduate course viz., B.Tech (Biotechnology), a master’s program on M.Sc (Agrl. Biotechnology), and Ph.D in Biotechnology. The department has about 30 externally funded projects to accomplish the above objectives.
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