Ebrahimali Abubacker Siddiq obtained BSc (1959) from Madras University, MSc (1964) from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi and PhD (1968) also from IARI under the supervision of Professor MS Swaminathan. He was Cytogeneticist (1968-76) and Senior Scientist, Breeding (1976-83) in the Division of Genetics, IARI; Rice Breeder in Egypt (1983-86), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), The Philippines; Professor of Genetics, IARI (1986-87); Project Director, Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad (1987-94); and Deputy Director General (Crop Science), ICAR, New Delhi (1994-97). After superannuation, he worked as National Professor, ICAR (1997-2002); Honorary Chair Distinguished, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting & Diagnostics (CDFD) (2002-07); Adjunct Professor, University of Hyderabad; Adjunct Scientist, CDFD; Adjunct Professor, IARI and Honorary Professor, Biotechnology, Professor Jayashankar T Agricultural University, Hyderabad.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Siddiq made pioneering contributions towards improvement of rice during his research career of over 40 years. His notable findings include: tracing the evolution and sub-specific differentiation of the Asian cultivar Oryza sativa by biometric, biochemical and molecular approaches; understanding the qualitative and quantitative genetic architecture of various indices of cooking/nutritive quality; diversity analysis of basmati rice at molecular level and mapping of key indices of basmati quality; unfolding high yield genes from wild/weedy relatives by marker associated QTL approach; and discovery and molecular characterization of indigenous sources of temperature sensitive genic male sterility and sterility neutralizing wide compatibility systems. He has made significant contributions to development of 12 high yielding varieties comprising Pusa Basmati 1 (the world's first high yielding dwarf basmati rice variety), Pusa-2-21 (India's first quick maturing variety), Pusa 44-33 (the only variety suiting combine harvest) and DRRH-1 (the country's first commercial hybrid rice). He supervised 35 PhD students, published over 150 research papers and also edited books and proceedings on rice.
Other Contributions: Dr Siddiq played a major role to establish National Rice Research Institutes in Egypt and Vietnam. As FAO/World Bank Consultant, he prepared Agricultural Development Project for Assam, National Agricultural Innovative Project for Sri Lanka, Hybrid Rice Project for Bangladesh and Egypt, and Integrated Crop Management projects for Near East countries and Indonesia. As a Member of the Board of Trustees of IRRI, The Philippines (2000-2006), he contributed notably to the global effort on rice research. As Chairman, Taskforce on Crop Biotechnology, Monitoring & Evaluation Committee for Genetically Engineered Crops, and National Convenor, Natural Rice Biotechnology Network (1990-2002), he played significant role to promote rice biotechnology research. He also served INSA as a Council Member (1998-2000) and Ad. Member (2006).
Awards and Honours: Dr Siddiq was conferred Hari Om Ahsram Trust National Award (1975), VASVIK Foundation National Award (1981), Amrik Singh Cheema Award (1987-88), Om Prakash Bhasin Award (1994), Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Prize (1995); Norman Borlaug Award (1995), INSA Silver Jubilee Medal (1997), GP Chatterjee Memorial Lecture Award by ISCA (2001) Professor Sundar Lal Hora Medal, (2011) INSA and Dr. B.P. Pal Memorial Award (2011-12), NAAS. Recognition of ICAR-NAAS-IARI for contribution to India's Green Revolution, 2015. He is a elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi.