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:
This progress contributes to the Objective 2 of the parental project: “Conduct genetic characterizations and phenotypic evaluations of genetic resources of the preceding crops and related wild species for priority genetic and agronomic traits”. Data from the second year was collected from three environments, all planted October 2012 and evaluated late winter 2013. Excellent winter-hardiness was collected from one environment. Cold temperatures during 2012/2012 in Central Ferry killed about 15% of whole plots and severely damaged an additional 28% of the plots (defined as over 50% of plants killed). Seventeen RILs experienced no winter kill and little to no leaf damage over the winters of 2011/2012 and 2012/2013. These lines will be assessed over additional sites and years to determine the best lines for inclusion in the ARS chickpea breeding program.