The Department of Biotechnology at UAS, Dharwad was started in 1998. It was supported by the forethought of the Vision Group on Biotechnology, Government of Karnataka to set up the state-of the-art molecular biology laboratories in 2002.
It gained a status of an institute (Institute of Agri-Biotechnology, IABT). The overall objective is to impart high quality education to the masters and doctoral students through hands-on research projects leading to dissertation. This is achieved through excellent faculty with finest exposure in the discipline and the state-of-the-art facilities. The student intake is 20 masters and 5 Ph. D. per year. M. Sc. programme is also supported by DBT-JNU. Students who have passed out from this Department are excelling in academics and other areas nationally and internationally. A few courses are being offered for undergraduates and diploma students. PG Diploma in Plant Genetic Engineering is also being offered at the Department.
In addition, development of biotech-based technologies for the farmers through various ad hoc projects (DBT, DST, ICAR, Indo-Japan collaborative project, DRDO, BRNS etc) is also an important mandate. These components of teaching and research programs are being implemented by the teachers/scientists with high academic qualification, expertise and experience.
Till date, several novel genes have been cloned and expressed for various trait improvement. They include the genes coding for cry, glucanase, chitinase, DREB, lectins etc. They have been transferred to various model and commercial crops to develop transgenics, which have been characterized for events and expression of the genes. The Department has also developed Bt brinjal in six varieties. Promoter-probe vectors with xylanase and gfp reporters have been constructed and validated. Considerable efforts have also been made to develop gene-silenced plants for various traits. Now the Department is also engaged in genome editing in various crops. Monoclonal antibodies have been produced by phage display technology against various antigens by cloning and expressing the respective genes. Ds tagging for generating insertional inactivation tagged and activation tagged mutants have been developed for the functional genomics in sorghum.
Currently, a considerable work is in progress on genomics and molecular breeding in groundnut, sorghum, pigeonpea and rice. Marker development, mapping, identification of QTL and markers, introgression of QTL have been taken up in these crops for trait improvement. Marker-assisted backcrossing has resulted in the development of backcross lines which are undergoing multi-location testing for variety development. These results have been published in high-impact journals of national and international repute. With the objective of developing the entrepreneurship, BIRAC and KBITS projects have been engaged where incubation facility has been established.