1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
We will genetically (classical and QTL) analyze the vernalization response and winter hardiness in chickpea and estimate the genetic correlations between these two major adaptive traits and Ascochyta blight response. We will identify the genes involved in winter hardiness and vernalization response, develop gene-specific SNP markers, and construct gene networks to assist in incorporating these traits into modern high yielding cultivars with improved Ascochyta response to suit the respective growing regions in the US and Israel.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
We will use naturally occurring variation from wild chickpea species spanning a wide latitudinal range, and segregating (and RIL) populations derived from domesticated x wild chickpea crosses. Phenotypic assessment of winter hardiness will be conducted in the target environments in the US with control nurseries in Israel. Vernalization and Ascochyta responses will be studied in Israel, while digital gene expression analyses and construction of gene networks involved in the studied traits will be conducted at Texas A&M University.
3. Progress Report:
Alleles for winter hardiness and a vernalization requirement still exist and are prevalent in chickpea’s wild progenitor, C. reticulatum. A recombinant inbred line population was made between cultivated chickpea (ICC 4958) and C. reticulatum (PI 489777) that differ in their winter hardiness response. The population, consisting of 131 individuals, is being screened for differential winter hardiness responses over multiple environments. Data from the first year (planted fall 2011 in Central Ferry, Washington) was collected and analyzed. A mild winter limited winter kill, so the plots were scored by cold-induced leaf damage. The data were analyzed with logistic regression and the log of odds ratio for similarity to each parent was estimated. The data showed a trimodal distribution with two extreme peaks roughly centered on each parent and a peak in the middle of the histogram. This study will be repeated next year across five environments and sequence data derived from digital gene expression profiling will be used to detect QTL consistently associated with winter hardiness. These research results support CRIS 5348-21000-026-00D Objective 3: to Strategically characterize (“genotype”) and evaluate (“phenotype”) crop core subsets and other priority germplasm for molecular markers, morphological descriptors, and key agronomic or horticultural traits, such as general adaptation, phenology, and growth potential. It also supports research project 5348-21000-026-00D Sub-objective 3.A. to accomplish with cooperators, apply existing and newly developed DNA genetic marker technology to phylogenetic and genetic diversity analyses of priority crops and microbial symbionts, emphasizing core subsets of Cicer.