Virevol Thakro: Plant Physiology First Author

Virevol Thakro, first author of “A superior gene allele involved in abscisic acid signaling enhances drought tolerance and yield in chickpea” 

Current Position: Research Fellow, National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), India

Education: Ph.D. in Plant Biology and Biotechnology, NIPGR, India

Non-scientific Interests: Reading, watching sci-fi movies, playing football and guitar

Brief bio: I am a student of Biology, who is captivated by the mysteries of life. After completing my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biotechnology, I joined the Indo-American Hybrid Seeds company as part of the BCIL (Biotech Consortium India Limited) training programme, where I was exposed to the use of hybrid seed technology for improving crop yield. After developing an interest in the use of applied and translational science for crop improvement, I joined Dr. Swarup K. Parida’s laboratory at NIPGR as a Ph.D. student. I had the opportunity to work on deciphering the genetic and molecular mechanisms governing yield and domestication-related traits of chickpea, a major food legume crop. In this study, we delineated a single bHLH transcription factor, CabHLH10, and its superior haplotypes governing enhance yield during drought in chickpea. We demonstrated that CabHLH10 transcriptionally regulates RD22 and two yield-enhancing photosynthetic efficiency (PE) genes in response to ABA signaling, leading to enhanced yield during drought. The superior CabHLH10 haplotypes have since been used to successfully develop high-yielding and drought-tolerant chickpea cultivars. Other focusses of my research include investigating mechanism that govern seed color and flowering time traits of chickpea. I hope to solve important scientific questions and contribute to the advancement of translational science for crop improvement.