India-ICARDA collaboration: breaking yield barriers

August 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Materials from ICARDA were field tested under Indian conditions. Sources of resistance to drought, salinity, wilt and other stresses have been identified

A new partnership between the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and ICARDA is successfully using new genetic resources to develop high-yielding varieties and new sources of pest and disease resistance. The project ‘Pre-breeding and genetic enhancement in breaking yield barriers in kabuli chickpea and lentil’ is funded by the Indian government’s National Food Security Mission. Several ICAR organizations are involved. Implementation is led by the Indian Institute of Pulses Research. Other partners include the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, RAK College of Agriculture, and RVRS University of Agriculture and Technology.

The project aims to assemble, characterize and evaluate new genetic resources, and then to use these resources in chickpea and lentil breeding programs. Work began in the 2010-11 winter season, and progress has been rapid.

ICARDA – with its unique genebank collections of more than 135,000 accessions – provided 100 chickpea landraces, 166 elite lentil lines, 85 accessions of wild chickpea, and 574 accessions of wild lentil species. For the landraces, preliminary evaluation and seed multiplication has been completed. More detailed evaluations will continue next season. For the wild species – which are often difficult to establish – special facilities have been created at several locations.

Genotyping and phenotyping of these materials is ongoing. A hybridization program is well under way: more than 360 successful crosses have been made between wild and cultivated genotypes of both crops.

Donors have been identified for a range of traits: Ascochyta blight, Botrytis gray mold and nematode resistance in chickpea; heat tolerance, earliness, large seeds, rust and powdery mildew resistance, and iron and zinc content in lentil; and yield traits, Fusarium wilt resistance and drought/salinity tolerance in both crops.


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