Genetic Sequencing of Chickpea Completed
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Genetic Sequencing of Chickpea Completed

A group of Scientists at ICRISAT – International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics after three decades of stringent study along with 21 research institutions worldwide have successfully completed the sequencing of Chickpea of all its 429 lines from 45 different nations.

This development is considered critical as chickpea is an important crop with greater nutrient value and there is a need to create new varieties with higher traits such as heat, drought, pests and disease resistance, besides higher yield and productivity particularly in the context of the expanding worldwide population and threats posed by climate change.

Dr. Peter Carberry, Director General ICRISAT said that this new data from chickpea sequencing will allow breeders to enhance the use of diverse germplasm and candidate genes in creating advanced climate-change ready varieties which will contribute significantly to increase in growth and sustainability of agricultural development in developing countries.

The genome-wide association studies have identified a number of candidate genes for 13 agronomic traits. Project leader, Dr. Rajeev Varshney said that they could identify genes that can help increase the crop tolerant temperature to 38-degree Celcius and can also help provide high productivity.

The sequencing study could help large scale characterization of the germplasm, population genetics and crop breeding of chickpea and assists comprehend domestication and post-domestication divergence of chickpea. “The new knowledge in the sequencing will enable breeders to boost the usage of diverse germplasm and candidate genes in creating improved climate-change ready varieties which will contribute substantially to increase in productivity and sustainability of agricultural growth in developing countries,” explained ICRISAT Director General, Dr. Peter Carberry.

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Partner Institutions that took part in the study are the Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Indian Agricultural Research Institute- IARI, Osmania University and University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru. A Chinese genome sequencing company – BGI Research was also a part of the project. The study results are published in the journal Nature Genetics.

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