Submitted to: Grain Legumes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 30, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Lentil offers a high quality food for human consumption, however, lentil crop production suffers from significant drawbacks. Genetic resources offer a solution for breeding research purposes and these genetic resources (germplasm) are maintained at a number of centers around the world. The germplasm collections have been characterized using a set of international lentil germplasm descriptors. Breeders have moved from wide cross/population improvement utilization of lentil germplasm to inbreeding a specific gene/allele from unadapted landrace and wild germplasm. The understanding of the allele value from any lentil in the gene pool, adapted and wild, will dramatically increase both the efficiency and efficacy of germplasm utilization in lentil breeding programs. Lentil germplasm collections of cultivated and wild crop relatives need to expand to meet current and future lentil production challenges.
Technical Abstract: While lentil offers a high quality food for human consumption (summarized elsewhere this issue), the lentil crop suffers from significant drawbacks including low biomass and flowering sensitivity to temperature that ex situ resources may assist in alleviating or ameliorating. Recently summarized were the genetic bottlenecks lentil suffered over the millennia, based on archeological records and flowering time and research conducted in the Middle East and the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Ex situ collections need to expand, beyond the few examples of regions to target that are presented in this article. Phenotypic characterization and high through-put genome-wide association studies of lentil germplasm are on the cusp of breaking the historic genetic bottleneck for lentil breeding efforts.