Vaidheeswara Arunachalam obtained his PhD degree from University of Cambridge, UK. He was Head, Division of Genetics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, and Professor of Plant Breeding, AP Agricultural University, Hyderabad. Lastly, he was Program Advisor, (SDC Biodiversity Project) at MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai.
Academic and Research Achievements: Arunachalam made significant contributions in many areas, such as population genetics of two gene polymorphisms; analysis of the concept of additive genetic variance for traits governed by two linked genes, a retrospective analysis of the role of molecular markers in breeding for QT improvement, analysis of genetic divergence in crop plants using multivariate Euclidean distance, limits to parental genetic divergence to obtain heterosis, a method to make decisions on a number of dependent traits and quantitative parameterization of isozyme patterns and used in marker-aided genetic enhancement of Brassica. He made pioneering contributions to Participatory Breeding and developed Kalajeera rice as a tribal farmers' variety , Kalinga Kalajeera, for Jeypore tract, Odisha. He has mentored 22 PhD and 3 M.Sc students and has written nine books and numerous articles and reviews during his career.
Other Contributions: Arunachalam served on the editorial boards of: Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding (1970), Proceedings of Indian National Science Academy (Part-B) (1987-90), Indian Journal of Sericulture and Phytobreedon. He was a Member, IARI Research Council (1992-94), Expert Committee on Biodiversity, Department of Biotechnology (1991-94), and Review Committee of the Genetic Diversity Programme of International Bureau for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome (1990); Crop Research Specialist of an FAO appraisal mission for World Bank funded NARP (1992).
Awards and Honours: He has received the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial and the Norman Borlaug Award, Vasvik Award and IARI Best Teacher award. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, Indian Society of Genetics and Plant Breeding, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Royal Statistical Society (London) and Cambridge Philosophical Society (UK) and Vice-President (1986-89), Plant Breeding Society, Kolkata.