Dr. M. Sujatha

Dr M Sujatha
Principal Scientist
Educational qualification
M.Phil.- Life Sciences, PhD in GENETICS
Other Roles
Head - Crop Improvement
Crop Improvement Section
Contact Address

Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research
Rajendranagar, Hyderabad 500 030

Tel No
Mobile No
09440880335; 7780258731
Work experience

34 years of research experience in genetic improvement of oilseeds and significant achievements include development of male sterile lines in sunflower, niger and safflower; establishment of tissue culture and transformation protocols and first success at development of transgenics for insect pest resistance in castor and necrosis disease in sunflower; identification of molecular markers for distinguishing toxic and non-toxic genotypes of Jatropha curcas; molecular mapping of downy mildew and fertility restorer genes in sunflower; identification of reliable sources of resistance to major insect pests and diseases in cultivated and wild sunflowers besides development of prebred lines in sunflower; identification of differentially expressed genes in castor related to fatty acid metabolism and powdery mildew resistance in sunflower

Contribution to the scientific advancement

Dr. Mulpuri Sujatha, Principal Scientists is currently serving as Director (A) of ICAR-Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research (IIOR), Hyderabad.  Dr. Sujatha had her Post graduation in Plant Sciences from the University of Hyderabad (UoH), India. She has a Ph.D. in Genetics from Osmania University (OU), Hyderabad. She was recruited as Scientist through the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and joined ICAR-IIOR in 1985 and serving the organization for the past 35 years. Dr. Sujatha is a versatile researcher adopting conventional and modern tools for the improvement of oilseed crops encompassing the areas of genetics, tissue culture and biotechnology. The main focus of her research is on prebreeding and genetic enhancement in oilseed crops and has the credit of developing male sterile lines in safflower, sunflower and niger for exploitation in hybrid development programmes; optimization of tissue culture and genetic transformation protocols; development of transgenic events in castor for foliage feeders and sunflower for resistance to necrosis disease; use of molecular markers in diversity analysis and tagging of desirable traits in sunflower (resistance to downy mildew and powdery mildew, fertility restoration) and jatropha (non-toxicity). She carried out differential gene expression analysis to prove the contribution of capsule wall and ovules in castor photosynthesis up to 25%; DEGs responsible for in vitro recalcitrance in castor, key candidate genes and proteins involved in conferring resistance to powdery mildew in wild Helianthus species. 
Dr. Sujatha is recipient of UNESCO-Biotechnology Action Fellowship, Netherlands Government Fellowship, Prestigious Woman Agricultural Scientist Award of ICAR, DBT Overseas Associateship, TWAS-CAS Fellowship. She is Fellow of NASI (Allahabad), TAS (Hyderabad) and ISOR (Hyderabad). She has visited several countries and has the privilege of working in USDA, USA and CAS, China laboratories.
Dr. Sujatha has published more than 100 articles in peer reviewed journals and edited 3 books with total citations of 4245, h-index of 33 and i-10 index of 71.

Projects completed
  • Studies on self-fertility mechanisms in niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass).
  • Genetic up-gradation of select male and female parents of castor (Ricinus communis L.) through wide hybridization.
  • Anther culture studies for development of homozygous inbred lines in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.).
  • Studies on maintenance of male sterility and fertility restoration in experimental hybrids of niger.
  • Propagation, establishment and evaluation of non-toxic Jatropha curcas. 
  • Development of transgenic castor for resistance to lepidopteran pests
  • Introgression of desirable traits from wild Helianthus species into cultivated sunflower through integrated approaches.
  • Collection, evaluation of germplasm, standardization of agro techniques and pilot demonstrations for Jatropha curcas L in Rain Shadow Districts of Andhra Pradesh 
  • Development of tissue culture and transformation protocols in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) as a prelude for development of transgenics resistant to sunflower necrosis disease 
  • Introgression of resistance to Alternaria helianthi, sunflower necrosis disease and powdery mildew from wild sunflowers to cultivated sunflower
  • Development of transgenic castor for resistance to insect pests
  • Molecular tagging and mapping of powdery mildew resistance in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) 
  • Transcriptome and proteome analysis for identification of candidate genes responsible for pistillate nature in castor 
  • Exploitation of inter and intraspecific genetic resources for development of agronomically superior inbred lines and populations in sunflower


On-going Projects
  • Exploitation of genetic and genomic resources for the improvement of niger (Guizotia abyssinica L.F. Cass) through breeding and biotechnological tools
Trainings undertaken (National & International)
  • Advances in Plant Biotechnology at CPMB, Osmania University, Hyderabad from November 10-30, 1992.
  • First International Course in Biotechnology in Agriculture: Plants and Microorganisms at The Faculty of Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel from September 10 to October 31, 1996.
  • Specialized training in Plant Biotechnology in the Laboratory of Prof. D.W. Galbraith, Dept of Plant Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, USA for two months from October 2 to December 2, 1997 under the UNESCO-Biotechnology Action Council (BAC) fellowship.  
  • Genetic Transformation using Particle Inflow Gun at ICRISAT from April 16-17, 1998.
  • Practical Course on Insecticidal Endotoxins at ICGEB, New Delhi from December 7-18, 1998.
  • Hands-on Training Course on Microsatellite Markers in Genome Diversity at CCMB, Hyderabad from February 23 to March 5, 2000.
  • Tailor-made course on Plant Biotechnology and Biosafety at the International Agriculture Centre, Wageningen, the Netherlands from May 13-24, 2002.
  • Training courses on Molecular Markers in Plant Breeding and Design of Plant Breeding Programmes at the International Agriculture Centre, Wageningen, and the Netherlands from May 21 to June 18, 2004.
  • Refresher Course on Participatory Plant Breeding and Support of Local Seed Production at Chiang Mai, Thailand from October 31 to November 12, 2004.
  • Participated in the International Workshop on iMAS testing at ICRISAT, Hyderabad during 14-18 May 2007.
  • Participated in the Training cum workshop on Computational Genome Analysis and one-day Symposium on in silico Biology at Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) at Pune from 6-9 February 2007.
  • Project training on development and use of molecular markers in marker-assisted selection at the lab of Prof. C.C. Jan, USDA-ARS, Northern Crop Science Laboratory, Fargo, North Dakota, USA from 22nd February to 21st August 2008. 
  • Attended the training programme on Data analysis using SAS at NAARM from 24-30 November 2010.
  • Attended the training programme on Crop Gene Expression Data Analysis and Structural Bioinformatics at NBPGR, New Delhi from 1-11th March 2011
  • Underwent training on Advancements towards Efficient Molecular Breeding conducted by Barwale Foundation at Hyderabad from 12-16 December 2011.
  • Training at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Kunming, China for 3 months from 1st June to 31st August 2012.
  • Underwent training on Next Generation Sequencing at CCMB, Hyderabad from 18-27 November 2013
Recent Publications (best papers in past 5 years )
  • Dudhe, M. Y., Meena, H. P., Sujatha, M., Sakhre, S. B., Ghodke, M. K., Misal, A. M., & Reddy, A.V.V. (2021). Genetic analysis in sunflower germplasm across the four states falling under the semi-arid environments of India. Electronic Journal of Plant Breeding, 12(4), 1075-1084.
  • Ajithkumar, K., Savitha, A. S., Mahadevakumar, S., Maharachchikumbura, S. S. N., Sreenivasa, M. Y., Rathnakumar, A. L., & Sujatha, M. (2021). First report of molecular detection of Leveillula taurica associated with powdery mildew of linseed (Linum usitatissimum) from India. Plant Disease, (ja).
  • Santha Lakshmi Prasad, M., Naresh, K. Sujatha, D. Usha, M. Sujatha, C. Sarada, S. Chander Rao, and P. Chowdappa (2020). Population structure of Alternaria species causing leaf blight of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) in India. Phytoparasitica 48(3): 335-356.
  • Kallamadi, P. R., & M. Sujatha (2020). Inheritance and molecular mapping of powdery mildew (Golovinomyces orontii) resistance gene (s) in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). 3 Biotech, 10(5), 1-6.
  • Francis, G., John, O., Piergiorgio, S., & Mulpuri, S. (2020). Apomixis as a tool for development of high yielding clones and selections in Jatropha curcas L. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 67(3), 727-743.
  • Dudhe, M. Y., Sujatha, M., Meena, H. P., Ajjanavara, R. R., Kodeboyina, V. S., & Adala, V.R. (2020). Genetic variability, diversity and identification of trait-specific accessions from the conserved sunflower germplasm for exploitation in the breeding programme. Agricultural Research, 9(1), 9-22.
  • Meena, H. P., M. Sujatha, H. D. Pushpa, and J.J. Lai. (2020) Cytomorphological and molecular characterization of inter-specific hybrid between cultivated sunflower and Helianthus argophyllus. Journal of Environmental Biology 41(1): 66-72.
  • Sai Sudha P, Tarakeswari M, Padmavathi AVT, Kumar Aniel O, Navajeet C, Saurabh G, Vineeth KV, Krishna Mohan AVSK, Sivarama Prasad L, Boney K, Mulpuri Sujatha, Vijay Bhasker Reddy L. 2019. Deciphering the transcriptomic insight during organogenesis in castor (Ricinus communis L.), jatropha (Jatropha curcas L.) and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). 3 Biotech (2019) 9:434. 
  • Tarakeswari M, Ananda Kumar P, Lakshminarayana M, Sujatha M, 2019. Development and evaluation of transgenic castor (Ricinus communis L.) expressing the insecticidal protein Cry1Aa of Bacillus thuringiensis against lepidopteran insect pests. Crop Protection 119: 113-125
  • Sreelekha D, Sujatha M, Ulaganathan K. 2019. Mapping of plastid RNA editing sites of Helianthus and identification of differential editing in fungal infected plants. Current Plant Biology. 18: doi.org/10.1016/j.cpb.2019.100109
  • Daniele T, Ravi S, Broccanello C, Claudia Chiodi, George Francis, John Oliver, Sujatha M, Subhashini S, Piergiorgio S. 2019. Identification and validation of SNP markers linked to seed toxicity in Jatropha curcas L. Scientific Reports 9:10220.
  • Ramya K.T, Vishnuvardhan Reddy, Sujatha M. 2019. Agromorphological and molecular analysis discloses wide genetic variability in sunflower breeding lines from USDA, USA. Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding 79(2): 444-452
  • Dudhe MY, AB Rajguru, Bhoite KD, Kadam SM, Ranganatha, Sujatha M, Reddy AV. 2018. Characterization, evaluation and multivariate analysis of sunflower germplasm under semi-arid environments of three locations in two sunflower growing states in India. Journal of Environmental Biology 39 (6), 990-996
  • Prathap Reddy K., Kamakshi D., Kirti P.B., Mohan Rao C, Thakur S.S., Sujatha M. 2018. An insight into powdery mildew infected susceptible, resistant and immune sunflower genotypes. Proteomics. 18 (16), 1700418.
  • Singareddy, V., Sheri, V.R., M. Tarakeswari, T. Revathi, Jain R.K., Chander Rao, Varaprasad K.S., Sujatha M. 2018. Genetic engineering of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) for resistance to necrosis disease through deployment of the TSV coat protein gene.  Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 135: 263-277
  • Sujatha M, K. Ulaganathan, Divya Bhanu, Soni P.K. 2018. RNA-Seq data of control and powdery mildew pathogen (Golovinomyces orontii) treated transcriptomes of Helianthus niveus. Data in Brief (Elsevier) 17: 210-217
  • Francis, G., Oliver, J. and Sujatha, M. 2017. High yielding and trait-specific genotypes and genetic associations among yield and yield contributing traits in Jatropha curcas L. Agroforestry Systems.
  • Meena H.P., Sujatha M. and Soni P.K. 2017. Interspecific hybrid between cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) and silver leaf sunflower H. argophyllus T. & G.: Cytomorphological and molecular characterization. Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding 77(4): 547-555
Book chapters
  • Rathnakumar, A. L., & Sujatha, M. (2022). Breeding Major Oilseed Crops: Prospects and Future Research Needs. In Accelerated Plant Breeding, Volume 4 (pp. 1-40). Springer, Cham. 
  • Kumaraswamy, H. H., Kumar, V. D., Lavanya, C., Ushakiran, B., Senthilvel, S., Sujatha, M. & Kumar, C. (2022). Biotechnological Approaches for Genetic Improvement of Castor Bean (Ricinus communis L.). In Accelerated Plant Breeding, Volume 4 (pp. 359-418). Springer, Cham.
  • Gobu, R., Aalok Shiv, C. Anil Kumar, P.S. Basavaraj, D. Harish, Sneha Adhikari, R. Vinita, H. Umesh and Sujatha, M. 2020. Accelerated crop breeding towards development of climate resilient varieties. In: Ch.Srinivasarao et al (Eds). Climate change and Indian Agriculture: Challenges and Adaptation Strategies, ICAR-NAARM, Hyderabad, Telangana, India, pp. 49-69. 
  • Sujatha, M. and Nithiyanantham, S. 2020. Genetic improvement of Jatropha curcas L. through conventional and biotechnological tools. In: A. Kumar, Y.Y.Yan, S. Ogita and R. Scheibe (Eds). Climate Change, Photosynthesis and Advanced Biofuels. Springer, Singapore pp. 425-460. http:// krishi.icar.gov.in/jspui/handle/123456789/44659
  • Vijay, S., Tarakeswari, M. and Sujatha, M. 2020. Genetic engineering of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) for important agronomic traits. In: Genetically Modified Crops. Current Status, Prospects and Challenges. Vol.1. Springer Publishers. pp. 175-200
Area of expertise

Genetics and Cytogenetics, Plant tissue culture, Genetic transformation and Molecular markers

Awards and recognition
  • UNESCO-BAC Fellowship for undergoing specialized training in Biotechnology (1997); fellowship under the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (2002, 2004); DBT Overseas Associateship (short-term) for six months during 2006-2007; TWAS-CAS Fellowship for undergoing Advanced training in China for 3 months during 2012
  • Panjabrao Deshmukh Woman Agricultural Scientist Award of ICAR for the year 2004
  • Fellow of The National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, India (NASI), Indian Society of Oilseeds Research (ISOR), Telangana Akademi of Sciences (TAS)
  • University medal and fellowship in M.Sc for standing first in Plant Sciences.
  • University merit scholarship in M.Phil.
  • Awarded fellowship under the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (2002, 2004) 
  • Recipient of the Prestigious Panjabrao Deshmukh Woman Agricultural Scientist Award of ICAR for the year 2004.
  • Has been awarded the DBT Overseas Associateship (short-term) for a period of six months for the year 2006-2007.
  • Has been awarded the FAO-GIPB award for the study on Harnessing the Potential of bioenergy Crops- Jatropha curcas during the year 2009. 
  • Has been awarded the TWAS-CAS Fellowship for undergoing advanced training at XTBG, Kunming, China for 3 months during 2012.
Areas of Interest

Genetics and plant breeding, reproductive biology, tissue culture and genetic transformation, molecular markers.

Any other relevant information
  • Awarded fellowship under the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (2002)
  • Awarded fellowship under the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (2004- 2 times – May for training at Netherlands and October for a refresher course in Thailand)
  • DBT Overseas Associateship (short-term) for a period of six months for the year 2006-2007