Dr. N. RAJANAIDU
Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)
Dr. N. RAJANAIDU holds a Ph.D. (Genetics) from University of Birmingham, U.K. and is a Fellow, Academy of Sciences Malaysia. Currently, he serves as a Senior Research Fellow with Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), contributing his over forty years of experience as an oil palm breeder. He also serves as consultants to a number of companies (local and overseas) on oil palm breeding. While in MPOB, he has had held many key positions including Head of Oil Palm breeding Group, and Head of Biotechnology and Breeding. Very early into research, the narrow gene pool had already been recognized as a major obstacle to rapid selection progress in oil palm. It was the concern generated by this situation that provided the initial impetus for the prospection of oil palm genetic materials in its natural environment (the centers of origin such as West Africa for Elaeis guineensis and South America for Elaies oleifera). In 1973, the first oil collection expedition was mounted to Nigeria, and 180,000 oil palm seeds were brought to Malaysia after a strict quarantine procedure. The collection expeditions then continued to other countries in Africa (Cameroon, Zaire, Tanzania, Madagascar, Angola, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry, and Ghana) and South America. Largely due to his efforts, he collected and assembled for MPOB the largest oil palm germplasm in the world. These materials are continuously being evaluated, and are expected to provide interesting and invaluable traits for the breeders. Elite lines from the collections have been used to broaden the genetic base of current breeding materials such as Deli duras and AVROS pisiferas. He released to the industry elite genetic lines from the collections known for dwarfness, unsaturated oil, long stalk, compact frond for high density planting, and high harvest index. He has a passion for teaching and regularly gives lectures on oil palm genetic resources, and also supervises many postgraduate students in the field of oil palm breeding.