Genetic Resources of Pearl Millet: Status and Utilization uri icon

abstract

  • Pearl millet is a very important crop of arid and semi-arid regions in Asia and Africa where it is the basis offood security of millions of people inhabiting in harsh and environmentally fragile ecosystem. Genetic resourcesof pearl millet including landraces, improved elite material, traditional cultivars, genetic stocks and wild relativesare very rich and, therefore, their characterization, documentation, conservation and distribution is very essentialto ensure utilization in breeding programmes. This review assesses the status of pearl millet genetic resources,and identifi es the gaps in their collection, conservation and utilization. A total of 56,580 accessions (includingpossible duplicates) of pearl millet in 70 genebanks of 46 countries across world are available. Landraces representthe largest part of pearl millet germplasm, followed by breeding/research material and wild relatives. The Indiannational collection includes 7,059 accessions at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), NewDelhi. Global collections managed by ICRISAT comprise of 22,888 pearl millet accessions from 51 countries.However, only a very small fraction of these accessions has been utilized so far. Critical assessment of collectionfor geographical and trait-diversity gaps using various GIS tools revealed several gaps in germplasm collection fromAsian and African continents. Almost all cultivated accessions have been characterized for 23 morpho-agronomiccharacters following prescribed pearl millet descriptors. A large variation exists for phenotypic and phenologicaltraits among available germplasm. In general, Indian pearl millet landraces have mainly contributed for earliness,high tillering, high harvest index and local adaptation; whereas African material has been a good source ofbigger panicles, large seed size, and disease resistance. Systematic evaluation and screening of germplasm hasled to the identifi cation of specifi c sources of better grain quality, resistance to diseases and tolerance to abioticstresses like drought and heat. These germplasm sources continue to play a critical role in crop improvementprogrammes across the world. Formation of trait-specifi c gene pools, core and minicore collections are likely toenhance the utilization of genetic resources to a greater degree. Strategies for further enriching the germplasmand increasing its use are discussed

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017