One Hundred Years Later, a New Museum Guide

One Hundred Years Later, a New Museum Guide-image

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Only two tattered copies remain of the original Zoology Museum catalogue, published in 1911 by UCG, now known as NUI Galway. One hundred years later, Éamon de Buitléar has officially launched a completely new version of the booklet at a special ceremony on campus.   The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum is housed in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and currently has over 500 specimens on display from a broad range of animal groups. Specimens include native animals as well as more exotic creatures, including stuffed monkeys, koalas, kiwis and the intriguing kangaroo rat.   The museum’s origins go back to the formation of the University in 1849, with many of the specimens coming from the Zoological Society of London. By 1899 it was among the best working museums of its kind to be found in any university of the time. The previous information booklet, called ‘A Catalogue of the Specimens’ was produced by Professor R. J. Anderson in 1911.   Speaking at the special ceremony on campus this week, the well-known wildlife filmmaker, Éamon de Buitléar, said: “To see this fine museum and launch this booklet is an absolute pleasure.  For many of us, the way we lead our lives today means we are getting further and further away from nature. This museum is a valuable resource and portal into our past, and an introduction into the wonders of nature.” One of the highlights of the museum is its possession of four genuine Charles Darwin specimens that were purchased from the Zoological Society of London. These consist of three mammal specimens: a grison, a cavy and an Azara’s fox; and one bird specimen, a guira cuckoo. All four specimens are native South American species and were collected on Charles Darwin’s trip aboard HMS Beagle from 1831-1836. Another special collection housed in the museum consists of over 100 ‘Blaschka models’. The father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka produced beautiful, intricate glass representations of marine animals, originally developed as educational models. They are now considered to be works of art, with a value that makes them irreplaceable. “Our museum is a time capsule taking us back to the days of Darwin and other great adventurers who travelled the world collecting exotic species” said Wallace Arthur, Professor of Zoology. “This museum is part of the University, but also belongs very much to Galway and the public. We welcome visitors and encourage them to spend as much time as they wish studying the specimens in whatever way is appropriate for their needs – very different needs for different groups, for example biologists, artists and laypeople.” Free and open to the public daily, the museum attracts large numbers of visitors, ranging from the general public to school parties to visiting researchers and academics.   The museum collection is used extensively in practical classes for Zoology students. The material allows the students to examine characteristic features of species and broader taxonomic groupings at first hand.   -ends-

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European Award for Business Information Systems Programme at NUI Galway

European Award for Business Information Systems Programme at NUI Galway -image

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Highest international standards for business and management education    NUI Galway has been awarded EPAS* accreditation for its Business and Information Systems Programme. Awarded by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), this accreditation confirms that the BSc in Business Information Systems (BIS) meets the highest international standards for business and management education.  Achieving the accreditation is a major feat for the course, being only one of eight European undergraduate programmes to receive the five-year award.   Speaking at the formal launch of the EPAS accreditation in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, President of the NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This is a tremendous endorsement of the activities of our Business School.  As one of only eight European universities to receive this quality mark, we in NUI Galway are proud of this acknowledgement of the quality of our business education programmes, and in particular the BIS degree programme.”   Business Information Systems is a four-year undergraduate degree that explores the use of technology in the modern business environment.  Incorporating skills development in technology, business and technology management through individual, team and virtual team project work combined with global learning and industry engagement initiatives.  Martin Hughes, Programme Director of the BSc BIS highlighted: “The BSc. BIS degree provides students with the ideal platform for a successful career in business - over 70% of the 2011 class were in career employment by graduation.”   Dr Chris Coughlan, Head of Cloud Computing Innovation Centre, Hewlett-Packard Galway, in welcoming the five-year accreditation, said: “The input of industry into the development and design of the programme has really paid off and the interaction between local and national employers and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics was particularly well received by the international peer review team. The practical effect of this interaction with industry and business is that it ensures that BIS at NUIG is ahead of the curve not only meeting their current needs but anticipating their future needs.”   NUI Galway staff, students and various industry figures attended the EPAS launch, recognising that the award signifies the quality of BIS programme graduates and their career progression globally.  The accreditation now recognises and reinforces, on an international stage, the strength of the programme and the esteem with which it is held in industry.   ENDS

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Employment Law and Mental Health Topic for NUI Galway Conference

Employment Law and Mental Health Topic for NUI Galway Conference-image

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The School of Law in association with the Employment Law Association of Ireland will host the inaugural conference for the new LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, entitled ‘Employment Law and Mental Health’, on Saturday, 12 November.    The conference, organised by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the Clinical Legal Education programme in conjunction with the Employment Lawyers Association of Ireland will address the issue of Employment Law and Mental Health in Ireland while also addressing the topic from a legal and medical perspective.    Shivaun Quinlivan, Director of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, says: “This interdisciplinary approach will assist each discipline in gaining a broader understanding of the important issues that need to be addressed, which is indicative of the holistic philosophy at the core of this new LLM programme.”   The conference is aimed at legal practitioners, medical practitioners, academics, researchers, NGO’s and those involved in mental health and disability issues.    Mental Health can cover numerous issues from work related stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, or mental health problems including, for example, depression.  Employers have legal obligations and requirements in respect of these employees, and it is important to understand the various issues, both legal and medical that arise in this context.   The conference will be chaired by Dr Mary Keys of the School of Law, NUI Galway, who is the public representative on the Mental Health Commission. The conference will bring together nationally renowned experts in their respective fields, including Marguerite Bolger Senior Counsel, and Dr Ann Jeffers Consultant psychiatrist.     The conference will take place in MY243 Theatre, Áras Moyola, NUI Galway and will commence at 10am. There will be Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points available to those who are eligible and a Certificate of Attendance will be provided after the Conference.   For further information, including the conference programme, registration and a list of speakers, see   ENDS  

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Tipperary

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Tipperary-image

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Tipperary on Thursday, 17 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Thurles is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Tipperary, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Siobhán Dorman, Schools Liaison Office on 086 042 1591 or -Ends-

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NUI Galway Student Receives Hamilton Award

NUI Galway Student Receives Hamilton Award-image

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

NUI Galway Applied Mathematics student, Fionnuala Connolly, was recently awarded a 2011 Hamilton Award in Mathematics by the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). Awards were presented to students of Mathematics in nine of the higher education institutions in Ireland. Fionnuala from Knocknackarra, Galway, is currently in her final year of study for the Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and was assessed along with all third-year students in all mathematical degrees taught in NUI Galway. She was judged to be the most outstanding candidate, based on her examination results in her mathematics courses. Congratulating Fionnuala on the award, Professor Michel Destrade, Head of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted that Fionnuala won the Award this year. It was well deserved because she was indeed an exceptional student, not only in Applied Maths but also in Pure Maths. We were also impressed that seven of the nine Hamilton awardees were female students. This reflects well on studies which show that in general girls perform better than boys in secondary school Maths, although only a minority of them choose to pursue a Degree in Mathematics, Physics, or Engineering.” The recipients of the Hamilton Award in Mathematics received a scroll presented by Fields Medallist Professor Howard Witten from the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, who then delivered the 2011 Hamilton Lecture. The announcement of the awards formed part of Hamilton Day activities at the RIA which celebrate Hamilton's life and contribution to mathematics, on the day after the anniversary of his famed ‘Quaternion walk’.   -Ends-

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NUI Galway Awards 32 New Sports Scholarships

NUI Galway Awards 32 New Sports Scholarships-image

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

At a special ceremony in the University last night (Monday, 7 November), 32 new recipients of NUI Galway student Sports Scholarships were presented by President, Dr Jim Browne.  This brings the total number of students receiving sports scholarships at NUI Galway to 60. Recipients this year include Jennifer Byrne who was part of the Irish Women’s soccer team that reached the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup this summer in Trinidad and Tobago. Mervue United Goalkeeper, Gerard Hanley is among those to receive a Soccer Scholarship. Gerard was recently called up the Irish U21 squad, and his sister Marion is a past recipient of a Tennis Scholarship at NUI Galway. Dean Higgins and Billy Lane, members of the Galway All-Ireland Minor Hurling winning team, were among those presented with hurling Scholarships, while Joss Moore was part of the U21 Football Galway team that took this years All-Ireland title. European Junior Silver medallist in Kickboxing, Desmond Leonard will be preparing for the World Championships later this year, while Heather Cary will be lining out for the Connacht and NUI Galway Ladies Rugby teams. A number of the new scholarship holders will be targeting the 2016 and 2020 Olympics in their careers such as Kevin McGlade and Ruairí McGeever from Swimming, Freddie Timmins, Hockey and Archer Darren Wallace. Also presented at the ceremony were two Gaelic Football Scholarships sponsored by Cadbury’s for outstanding U21 Footballers as part of their sponsorship of the U21 Football Championship.  This year’s recipients are Gary Sweeney and Éinne Ó hEochaidh. NUI Galway Elite Sports Development Officer, former Olympic Sprinter and former Director of Coaching for Athletics Ireland, Gary Ryan, said:  “The NUI Galway Sports Scholarship scheme has a broad range of extremely talented young athletes and over the past number of years we have put in place excellent supports that have helped many of our students improve their performance significantly and to attain enormous success both in their sporting career and at the same time receiving an excellent education. Receiving this scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for these students as they will have access to some of the best people working in sport in Ireland.” Scholarship benefits include a subsistence grant, coaching, medical and physiotherapy support, performance nutrition and performance psychology, strength and conditioning as well as performance planning and mentoring.  Each Scholarship is built around the individuals needs and their chosen sport. NUI Galway Sports Scholarships awardees: Rugby: Heather Cary from Ontario, Canada Soccer: Gerard Cheevers from Carnmore, Co. Galway Soccer: Jennifer Byrne from Athlone, Co. Westmeath Soccer: Gerard Hanley from Barna, Co. Galway Soccer: Joe Woods from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Soccer: Brian Gaffney from Salthill, Galway city Soccer: Cian McBrien from Knocknacarra, Galway city Soccer: Cian Fadden from Knocknacarra, Galway city Gaelic Football: Eilish Ward from Mountcharles, Co. Donegal Golf: Enda Cradock from Gort, Co. Galway Hockey: Freddie Timmins from Circular Road, Galway city Kickboxing: Desmond Leonard from Riverstown, Co. Sligo Swimming: Kevin McGlade from Knocknacarra, Galway city Swimming: Ruairí McGeever from Derrycastle, Co. Tipperary Basketball: James Brophy from Knocknacarra, Galway city Basketball: Kenneth Hansberry from Tuam, Co. Galway Basketball: Eabhnait Scanlon from Listowel, Co. Kerry Camogie: Chloe Morey from Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare Gaelic Football: Jason Doherty from Newport, Co. Mayo Gaelic Football: Greg Higgins from Tuam, Co. Galway Gaelic Football: Joss Moore from Mountbellew, Co. Galway Gaelic Football: Sean Moran from Claregalway, Co. Galway Hurling: Gerard O’Donoghue from Gort, Co. Galway Hurling: Colm Galvin from Clonlara, Co. Clare Hurling: Dean Higgins from Castlegar, Co. Galway Hurling: Billy Lane from Kilcolgan, Co. Galway Rowing: Sean O’Connor from Daingean, Co. Offaly Rowing: Cliona Hurst from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Rowing: Richard Bennett from Renmore, Galway city Archery: Darren Wallace from Portlaoise, Co. Laois Cadburys/ GAA U21 Football Scholarship Gary Sweeney from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Éinne Ó hEochaidh from Spiddal, Co. Galway   -ENDS-

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Volunteers Needed for Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition

Volunteers Needed for Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition-image

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Volunteers are being sought to support the 14thannual Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, a free, family-oriented event taking place at NUI Galway on Sunday, 27 November. The organising committee and NUI Galway are looking for 100 volunteers to help out on the day. At the event, hundreds of scientists, engineers and business innovators will showcase their work at over 60 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. Visitors to the Exhibition will be able to participate in experiments, watch demonstrations, and discuss ideas with researchers from NUI Galway and GMIT as well as industry representatives from the festival’s main sponsor Medtronic and others such as Boston Scientific, CISCO, Hewlett Packard, Avaya, Covidien, SAP, Lake Region and Creganna. Different exhibits will allow the public to learn more about topics such as life-saving medical devices, renewable energy, IT in the future, kitchen chemistry, and much, much more. NUI Galway’s museums will all be open on the day, and the popular 3D tour of the universe makes a welcome return. Dean of Science at NUI Galway, Professor Tom Sherry, commented: “We are delighted to have the Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition returning to the grounds of NUI Galway for the second year in a row. Last year’s event was a huge success, and this year the main area that we have been working hard on improving is in better dealing with the large numbers of visitors that we are expecting. For this purpose, we are inviting anyone who is interested to volunteer some of their time on the 27th, to help us get people around to all of the different activities that will be spread across the NUI Galway campus.” “We eagerly look forward to the active participation of the NUI Galway volunteers force to making this an outstanding success again”, said Tom Hyland Galway Science and Technology Festival Chairman. A science and technology background is not required to volunteer as information and training will be given in advance of the event. To sign up for volunteering please contact . For general information on the Festival see and to pre-book the shows for the Exhibition visit Ends

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Ongoing Research Looking at Flood Management Practices in Galway and Dublin

Ongoing Research Looking at Flood Management Practices in Galway and Dublin-image

Monday, 7 November 2011

Recent flooding events in Dublin will form a significant part of an ongoing research project in Geography, at NUI Galway. The research project entitled ‘Flood Risk Management in Ireland: The role of public participation’, is an ongoing project which started in September 2009 and is due to be completed in September 2013.   The research is based on two main case studies in Gort, Co. Galway and the River Dodder Catchment area in Dublin. The project is currently being undertaken by PhD student Alexandra Revez and supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr Marie Mahon and Dr Frances Fahy. The main aims of the study are to provide a unique detailed study of flood management in Ireland from a social science perspective and explore the potential benefits of enhancing the role of public participation in this area. The research hopes to contribute to the development of institutional capacities in order to meet the growing challenges of flood management in Ireland and the increased vulnerability of communities both in urban and rural Ireland. The studies seek to engage with the many stakeholders implicated in flood management in order to unearth the different experiences and understandings of flooding in Ireland and identify the localised political and contextual influences guiding the management of floods in Ireland. It also aims to improve our understanding of the social and political implications of flood management strategies. To date, the research has produced an original study of flood management in Ireland which, according to Alexandra Revez: “Explores the knowledge frameworks chosen to devise national and local management strategies, and it is also unique in providing alternative approaches which look at the potential benefits of public participation.”   The research is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS). If anyone is interested in any further information about the study or wishes to share their different experiences of flooding events please contact   -ends-

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Music Week in NUI Galway

Music Week in NUI Galway-image

Monday, 7 November 2011

The NUI Galway campus will be alive with music during the Societies Office dedicated music week running from 14 to 18 November. Music Week is a showcase of all the musical talent on the University campus, along with special guests.  There are a variety of concerts and sessions throughout the week as well as many music based events.   Organised by the NUI Galway Societies Office, Music Week will be launched with musical Munchie Monday which combines an international food fair with performances from the Orchestra Society, Music and Entertainment Society, Dansoc, DJ Soc and GUMS Musical Society. The launch will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, on Monday 14 November at 6pm.   Highlights include the final of NUI Galway’s Got Talent on Tuesday, 15 November, in the Bailey Allen Hall, with €1,000 prize for the winner. The Student Union session, also on Tuesday, features Gavin James and the Problematics an up and coming original three piece Dublin based band.    On Thursday, 17 November, the Juggling Society will present Gentleman Juggler Oliver Caignart who, in addition to mesmerising us with his manipulation of everyday objects, will tell the history of juggling. Choral Soc, Trad Soc and Rock Soc will team up with a concert to display their various musical skills. Two ‘Arts in Action’ lunchtime concerts will also feature. Tower of Song featuring Jimmy Monaghan of ‘Dead Birds’ joined by Cian Finn and Rory Bowens will take place on Thursday and on Friday in the Bailey Allen Hall, a traditional concert with Frankie Gavin, Máirtin O’Connor and Carl Hession will be held supported by NUI Galway Traditional Music Society.   Music  Bingo, Blind Date, Open Mic, JPop/J Rock, DJ Birthday party, movies and a Dramsoc play ‘Rewind’ told through music will also feature throughout the week. On campus busking for Voices for Galway and a musical themed photographic exhibition will take place in Áras na Mac Léinn.    Most events are free and open to the public. For full information on all the events are available at Information available at 091 492088, Tickets available from the SocsBox in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway.   -Ends-

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Global Research Consortium Involving NUI Galway Decodes the Genome of Pigeonpea

Global Research Consortium Involving NUI Galway Decodes the Genome of Pigeonpea-image

Monday, 7 November 2011

Legume genome sequence to improve livelihoods of poorer smallholder farmers in the dryland tropics in Africa and Asia A global scientific team, including Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded scientists from the Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre (PABC) at NUI Galway, have succeeded in sequencing the entire DNA genome of a legume crop of the poor called pigeonpea.   Pigeonpea is a staple food for millions of the world’s poorest people who live in semi-arid regions where only drought-tolerant crops such as pigeonpea can be cultivated. Pigeonpea, grown on about 5 million hectares in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South-Central America, is known as the ‘poor people’s meat’ because of its high protein content, it provides a well-balanced diet when accompanied with cereals. An improved understanding of the pigeonpea genome will have a major impact on improved crop productivity, tackling pests and disease constraints in production, and improved resistance to harsh environments and the future variable climate.   The international initiative to sequence the pigeonpea genome was led by Dr Rajeev Varshney from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and harnessed the research capacity of research labs from India, China, USA and Ireland. Professor Charles Spillane, Dr Mark Donoghue and PhD student Reetu Tuteja from the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosicences Centre (PABC) were scientific partners involved in the international initiative leading to the research breakthrough.   Professor Charles Spillane, Head of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, highlights that: “Pigeonpea is a staple food crop of millions of poorer smallholder farmers in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. While crops such as pigeonpea are essential to food and livelihood security in developing countries, such crops of the world’s poorest peoples are considered orphan crops as there is limited scientific research applied to the development of improved higher productivity varieties due to a lack of commercial incentives. Crop improvement research on such crops is predominantly financed as a public good, through the efforts of non-profit humanitarian scientific institutions such as ICRISAT. Here in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosicences Centre we are working closely with ICRISAT, and a range of other agricultural research for development partners, to help advance pro-poor plant and agribiosciences research.  Our activities aim to support the goals of Irish Aid in relation to the Hunger Task Force recommendations to improve smallholder productivity and reduce malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.”   Professor Spillane, further adds that: “Plant and agribiosciences research for sustainable development will play an increasingly important role in helping to meet future food and livelihood security needs of the ‘bottom billion’ currently suffering from undernutrition and fragile livelihoods. Of the 7 billion people currently on the planet, the food security needs of over 1 billion people are not being met.  Rapidly increasing demand for food and other agriculture derived resources will necessitate major increases in crop productivity (yield per unit hectare) if food production is to double by 2050 to meet projected demand. This will require increased and accelerated public-sector investment in pro-poor crop improvement research to meet the needs of the 1 billion poor whose livelihoods are dependent on staple crops such as pigeonpea.”   The completed genome sequence of pigeonpea is being published in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology, which is the highest ranked international journal in the area of biotechnology. The paper provides an overview of the structure and function of all of the 48,860 genes that define what makes a pigeonpea plant. It also reveals valuable clues on how the genome sequence can be harnessed to accelerate crop improvement for sustainable food production particularly in the marginal environments of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, a couple of hundred of these genes were found to be unique to the crop in terms of drought tolerance, an important trait that can be harnessed for other similar legume crops like soybean, cowpea or common bean. At present, it can take 6-10 years of crop genetics research to breed a new variety of pigeonpea. With the use of this new genome sequence data, in the future, it should be possible to develop improved pigeonpea varieties for smallholder farmers within 3 years.   NUI Galway has recently entered into a Research Alliance with ICRISAT to combine efforts, expertise and capacity in order to advance Plant and AgriBiosciences research for poverty reduction in developing countries in the semi-arid tropics (particularly in sub-Saharan Africa). Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land across 55 countries, the semi-arid tropics has over 2 billion people, and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these poor people to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through crop and agricultural research.   “The mapping of the pigeonpea genome is a breakthrough that could not have come at a better time. Now that the world is faced with hunger and famine particularly in the Horn of Africa brought about by the worst drought of the decades, science-based, sustainable agricultural development solutions are vital in extricating vulnerable dryland communities out of poverty and hunger for good,” says ICRISAT Director General William D. Dar, who visited Galway earlier this year to meet with the President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne.   “Modern crop improvement technologies for smallholder farmer crops such as pigeonpea will be crucial to speed up the development of improved varieties that can provide high yields and improved livelihoods, and at the same time meet the challenges of marginal environments and the threat of climate change and scarce natural resources," adds Dar.   Pigeonpea is the first ‘orphan crop’, the first ‘non-industrial crop’ and the second food legume (after soybean) for which plant scientists have succeeded in sequencing the genome. The sequencing was accomplished by a global research partnership, the International Initiative for Pigeonpea Genomics (IIPG), led by ICRISAT with plant genome research partners such as BGI – Shenzhen (China), the National University of Ireland Galway, US research laboratories like University of Georgia, University of California-Davis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and National Centre for Genome Resources, and also support from the CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme based in Mexico.   -ends-

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