The International Hyderabad-based International Institute for Semi-Tropical Crop Research Institute (ICRISAT) has identified four important genes for thermal tolerance and three important drought tolerance genes in chickpeas.
With rising temperatures and increasing climatic fluctuations caused by climate change, identifying these climatic resistant genes will help to develop newer chick peas varieties that can tolerate temperatures up to 38 ° C.°C. Also, identifying other genes with important agromic properties will help increase yield and provide better pest and disease resistance. The study was based on complete genome sequencing of 429 foreign lines from 45 countries.
More than 90% of the chickpea growing area is in South Asia, including India. Worldwide, more than 70% yield is lost due to drought and rising temperatures. Chickpeas are a cold seasonal crop, so it is generally expected that further temperature increases will further reduce yield.
"By identifying heat and drought tolerant genes, it will be possible to overcome the chickpeas landrace bearing these genes with the variety and select only those lines (progenies) with genetic markers that have heat tolerance and drought genes. Using such a method of assisted breeding genomics, the time required to produce a new heat- and drought-resistant new chickpea variety can be halved from eight to four years, ”says Dr. Schmidt. Rajeev K. Varshney of ICRISAT. He is the first author and one of the corresponding authors of the paper published in Nature Genetics.
In India, chickpeas are generally sown in September-October and harvested in January-February. “At present, chickpeas do not face a greater threat of rising temperatures in India. However, we are seeing moderate warming during the months of January and February. A new variety with heat and drought resistance will be very useful for Indian farmers, ”says Dr. Schmidt. Varshney. “When heat-bearing chickpeas develop in the future, farmers in India may have the opportunity to go to the second round of cultivation. Although the yield will be lower for the second crop, farmers will still be able to gain profit. "
The study found that chickpeas originated in the Mediterranean / southwest Asia and migrated to South Asia. She arrived in India about two centuries ago, probably through Afghanistan. In parallel, he migrated from the Mediterranean to East Africa and Central Asia. The study provides insight into the genetic diversity of chickpeas, also on domestication.