Hafiz Ghulam Muhu-Din Ahmad
Investigating drought-tolerant wheat varieties through advanced molecular techniques.
Hafiz Ghulam Muhu-Din Ahmad is a doctoral scholar from the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. He spent six months researching in the laboratory of Dr. Kulvinder Gill at Washington State University.
Wheat is a major staple crop in Pakistan, and is mainly grown in the province of Punjab. In 2016, 25 million tons of wheat were produced, making Pakistan the world’s seventh largest producer of wheat. Yet, seasonal yields are heavily affected by increasingly arid conditions, and pumping irrigation water can be costly due to the fuel use required for the pumps.
“In southern Punjab, there is less than average rainfall than in other areas. So, areas like Multan and Bahawalpur are more affected by drought conditions,” states Mr. Muhu-Din Ahmad. “We need to develop drought-tolerant varieties using conventional, molecular, and advanced techniques.”
While on exchange at WSU, Mr. Muhu-Din Ahmad continued to work on identifying wheat varieties that were drought-tolerant and exhibited higher yields. Under the tutelage of Dr. Gill, he examined diversity and association mapping for 105 wheat genotypes using simple sequence repeat (SSR) analysis and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis. He also learned an advanced technique called genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS), which assists in creating genome-wide association studies. He became one of the first UAF doctoral candidates to learn and perform the GBS technique, which was first published in 2011.
“I have also done quality analysis to find out the protein and gluten content percentage of my varieties,” stated Mr. Muhu-Din Ahmad. “These are also important tools for the success of hybrid wheat and produce high yielding varieties.” He plans to continue to work and collaborate with Dr. Gill’s lab in order to complete his genotyping research.
The U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies (USPCAS) is educating and training the next generation of scientists, engineers, and policy makers through innovative academic programs crucial for Pakistan’s development in agriculture and food security. Through applied research, academia-industry collaboration, and policy formation, USPCAS enhances Pakistan’s economic growth and prosperity. USPCAS was made possible by support from the American people through United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
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Profile written by Levi McGarry.