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Posted: Sat, 23 Dec 2017 00:00
BIOTROP's Third Quarterly Public Seminar of 2017: Yield Improvement of Oil Palm Plantation using Genetic Tools - 446 time(s) visited
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SEAMEO BIOTROP invited Dr Chew Fook Tim, an associate professor and researcher at the Department of Biological Sciences from National University of Singapore, to deliver a lecture on “Genetic Strategies for Yield Improvement in Oil Palm Plantation”. The lecture was the Third Quarterly Public Seminar held by SEAMEO BIOTROP on 14 December 2017 in BIOTROP’s headquarter in Bogor and attended by 51 registered participants coming from various private and government educational and research institutions across Indonesia.

Dr Chew explained that oil palm is among the largest source of edible oil contributing to more than 30% of the world’s production of oils and fats. In order to improve the oil palm yields, the application of genomic information can be used in breeding program. The quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis, genome-wide association study and genomic selection models, in combination with the application of network biology and functional genomic tools such as transcriptome, proteome and metabolome analysis, provide larger opportunity in increasing the productivity of oil palm. These methods are used to identify the markers associated with the key productivity related to phenotypes such as lipase biosynthesis, fruit bunch and disease resistance which are the main components affected the crop yields.

Dr Chew also told audiences that phenotypes are influenced not only by the genetic factor, but also by the environmental condition. Thus, every plant has different phenotypic expression depending on the environment where the plant grows. This also makes the markers may be vary between one plant individual and others. Once the specific plant containing targeted markers is obtained and cultivated, the oil palm plantation system will harvest more yields.

At the end of the presentation, Dr Chew summarized that the integration of genetic tools consisting of network biology tools and traditional genetic toolsets offers more understanding on key processes controlling the complex multi-genic and interactive (gene gene, gene environment) nature of oil productivity, which then leads to more effective determination of genes controlling oil productivity.

Aside from being an associate professor and researcher at the Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, National University of Singapore, Dr Chew also runs the Lee Hiok Kwee Functional Genomics Laboratory which concerns in genomics and proteomics research. His research in functional genomic characterization of oil palm traits, marker assisted breeding and oil palm genomics has resulted many publications in various qualified international scientific journals.

Dr Chew is also an Editorial Board member of several key scientific journals such as Journal of Physiological Anthropology, Frontiers in Plant Science and Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. Recently, he has been assigned as the new Editorial Board member of BIOTROP’s scientific journal of tropical biology called BIOTROPIA.