Biotechnology has the potential to address problems not solved by conventional agricultural research. In addition, biotechnology may speed up research processes and increase research precision. Owing to the development of biotechnology in global scenario and richness of diversity in plant genetic resources in Nepal, there is great potentiality of biotechnology as tools for increasing food production and promoting sustainable agriculture. Therefore, biotechnology unit was established on 1998 (27-09-1998 AD) to focus on Nepalese agriculture.
This Unit is concentrated on molecular marker technology and tissue culture. Molecular markers are particularly useful for accelerating the breeding works with desirable traits. Diversity assessing, construction of linkage maps, gene tagging and QTL mapping using DNA markers are the very important preliminary works for marker assisted selection and gene pyramiding. Markers linked to the gene can be used to select plants possessing the desired trait and markers throughout the genome can be used to select plants that are genetically similar to the recurrent parent. This approach is thought to be promising in crops like rice because a number of rice cultivars are widely grown for their adaptation, stable performance and desirable grain quality. Tissue culture is adopting to produce double haploid lines through the anther culture reducing breeding cycles of cultivars and to overcome incompatibility barriers and to produce inter-specific and inter-generic hybrids through embryo culture. Biotechnology Unit is contributing for pre-breeding research works on food crops. Its also plays important role for biosafety and biotechnology related policy making.