Chickpea breeding for water-limited environments uri icon


  • Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is a dry season food legume and islargely grown on residual soil moisture after the rainy season.The crop often experiences moisture stress towards the endof the crop season (terminal drought). The crop may also faceheat stress at the reproductive stage, if sowing is delayed. Theincreasing climate variability, reflected in wide fluctuations intemperatures and rainfall, is further aggravating risks of terminaldrought and heat stresses to chickpea crop, particularly in thesemi-arid tropics (SAT). The genetic approaches being used formanaging terminal drought and heat stresses include developmentof varieties with early maturity and enhanced tolerance tothese stresses. Excellent progress has been made in the developmentof early maturing varieties with high yield potential, whichhelped in bringing additional area under cultivation and enhancingproductivity of chickpea in short-season SAT environments.Several varieties with improved drought tolerance have beendeveloped by the classical approach of selecting for grain yieldunder moisture stress conditions. Similarly, selection for pod setin the crop, subjected to reproductive stage heat stress by delayedplanting, has helped in development of heat-tolerant varieties.A genomic region called ?QTL-hot spot?, which controls anumber of drought tolerance traits including root traits, has beenintrogressed into several popular cultivars using marker-assistedbackcrossing (MABC); and introgression lines giving significantlyhigher yield than the popular cultivars under moisture stressconditions have been identified. Multi-parent advanced generationinter-cross (MAGIC) approach has been found promisingin enhancing genetic recombination and developing lines withenhanced tolerance to terminal drought and heat stresses. Integratedbreeding approaches involving, particularly, genomictools, precision phenotyping, and rapid generation turnovertechniques, have improved efficiency of chickpea breeding programsin developing varieties better adapted to water limitedenvironments

publication date

  • 2017