Grain Legumes: Biotechnological Interventions in Crop Improvement for Adverse Environments uri icon

abstract

  • Grain legumes are the major food crops grown and consumed mostly by the poor farmers as an important source of protein in the drylands of the world. The ensuing climate change has posed serious potential threats to the cultivation of these crops that are important for the sustainable livelihoods of the poorest of the poor in these regions. There is evidence to suggest that the ecological dynamics and equilibriums are likely to be affected as a result of changing climate, either by making these crops susceptible to new diseases or by increasing the intensities of diseases, pests, and parasites. Despite many uncertainties, there is a growing consensus that these adversities could lead to an overall increase in the disease and pest pressure besides harsher abiotic stresses. Since most of the grain legumes have a narrow genetic base and levels of resistance to some biotic and abiotic constraints are low, making crop improvement an overarching research-for-development challenge for maximizing the benefits that grain legumes offer to smallholder farmers. Running against the headwinds, grain legume research has been immensely benefited by applications of modern biotechnological tools and approaches that have the potential to develop solutions for destructive diseases, besides making headway against the complex problems of drought. Similarly, identifying novel genes/traits and assessing their suitability as candidate genes for genetic engineering options will be important for future breeding programs in order to achieve remarkable impacts in these grain legume crops globally. This chapter mainly provides a comprehensive picture of the different biotechnological interventions adopted for addressing various constraints in gain legume productivity and improvement, highlighting the pitfalls and possible solutions that can be taken through an integrated approach to combat the altered environmental conditions

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012