Chickpea: new varieties with multiple traits

June 12, 2012 at 7:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

High yields, disease resistance, cold tolerance: new chickpea varieties suitable for winter planting in Mediterranean environments

ICARDA has a global mandate for research on kabuli chickpea. A total of 66 field trials were planted at Tel Hadya this season, with 25 hectares of field plots and more than 14,000 genotypes: germplasm, genetic stocks, breeding material and crosses. The program aims to develop new varieties with multiple traits. Two key traits are resistance to ascochyta blight (9012 genotypes screened this season) and fusarium wilt (4442 genotypes). Other target traits include drought, heat and cold tolerance; breeders have identified varieties capable of withstanding sub-zero temperatures for several days.

Yield trials tested another 793 advanced lines, targeted at different environments in West and South Asia, and North and sub-Saharan Africa. Several lines combined high yields (2-3 t/ha) with resistance to ascochyta, fusarium, cold and drought. These lines are now being shared with national plant breeders in partner countries.

Other trials measured physiological traits such as chlorophyll content, chlorophyll fluorescence and stomatal conductance. The results will help relate these traits to drought and heat tolerance, providing breeders with a physiological ‘marker’ to aid selection.

For more information contact Dr Imtiaz Muhammad, chickpea breeder and geneticist, email


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