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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Systematic Germplasm Enhancement of Cool Season Food Legumes

Location: Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The primary objectives of this study are to develop improved varieties by systematically introducing new germplasm into our breeding programs (pre-breeding) of cool season food legumes. Wild relatives and accessions from the secondary and tertiary gene pools of peas, lentils and chickpeas will be screened for desirable characteristics and then introduced into the breeding programs via a series of crosses and back crosses. Desirable characteristics will include traits such as disease resistance, resistance to abiotic stress (primarily cold and drought tolerance), and quality characteristics (seed shape, size color, nutritional profile). Identified accessions will be entered into the regular breeding program with about 12.5% of their initial alleles.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A breeding program should exist in a state of dynamic equilibrium – new, novel material flows in and is incorporated in evaluation, breeding and selection as improved varieties are released. Much novel germplasm will not be agronomically adapted to the PNW or Northern Plains regions of the US, although it will have traits of interest, such as disease resistance, resistance to abiotic stresses, etc. We will SING: Systematically Introduce Novel Germplasm into the breeding programs, identify lines with useful characteristics, cross and then backcross them with elite lines and enter the progeny into the breeding nurseries. By ‘diluting’ the new germplasm, so that no more than about 12.5% of the novel genome is represented, we will make more rapid progress in both developing superior cultivars as well as creating populations that will be useful for genetic studies. The source of the novel germplasm will include the various international germplasm collections and other breeders and geneticists throughout the world.


3.Progress Report:

This research relates to objective 1 of the associated inhouse project “Develop and release new varieties and germplasm of peas, lentils, and chickpea that have higher seed mineral concentrations; improved host-plant resistance to Aphanomyces root rot, Sclerotinia wilt and Ascochyta blight; and higher yields than existing commercial varieties”.

In 2013, advanced yield trials for peas, lentils, and chickpeas were planted at several locations in North Dakota. Breeding lines, commercial varieties, and populations are being evaluated in field nurseries for reaction to several diseases including Ascochyta blight, Fusarium wilt, and Aphanomyces root rot. Chickpea populations are being examined with DNA markers in the laboratory and evaluated in the field for important traits including disease resistance, maturity, yield, and seed size.


Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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