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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sugarbeet and Potato Research » Research » Research Project #440686

Research Project: Developing Chickpea Cultivars with Radically Improved Nitrogen Fixation Rates

Location: Sugarbeet and Potato Research

Project Number: 3060-21650-001-041-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2021
End Date: Dec 31, 2022

Objective:
(1) Identify the wild alleles conferring efficient nitrogen fixation in Cicer species. (2) Test the performance of high and low nitrogen fixation Cicer lineages under field conditions in the Pacific Northwest. (3) Introgress wild alleles for superior nitrogen fixation into farmer-preferred cultivars to develop novel and superior chickpea varieties.

Approach:
The research plan combines (1) well-established greenhouse and laboratory assays to identify genetic control of symbiotic performance, (2) agricultural assays to critically test trait relevance, and (3) genomic-assisted breeding to introgress high-value wild traits for nitrogen fixation into grower-preferred chickpea varieties. In Objective 1, precise and replicated phenotyping is used to accurately characterize nitrogen fixation efficiency in a panel of ~600 segregating recombinant inbred lines derived from crossing wild x cultivated species. In combination with high density genotyping data, statistical genetic analyses will identify the nature of genetic control, including molecular markers linked to nitrogen fixation efficiency. In Objective 2, replicated field assays are used to validate the agricultural relevance of quantitative traits identified in greenhouse assays under Objective 1. In Objective 3, molecular marker data will be used to drive the introgression of wild alleles for increased nitrogen fixation efficiency into select cultivated backgrounds. Genotypes that are the outcome of trait introgression will be subject to detailed analyses to understand genetic architecture and to down-select among 100 lineages to serve as new crop varieties and to enter further breeding programs as elite backgrounds.