Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2005
Publication Date: 11/30/2005
Citation: Mcphee, K.E. 2005. Dry pea production and breeding. In: R. Dris (ed.) Crops:Growth, Quality and Biotechnology. WFL Publishers, Helsinki, Finland. pp. 1014-1024. Interpretive Summary: Dry pea has been an important food crop worldwide since Neolithic times. It has been the subject of considerable scientific study since its domestication resulting in significant advances in understanding inheritance and plant physiology. Pea production is constrained by several biotic an abiotic factors. Genetic resistance present in pea germplasm has been used to overcome several biotic factors including pathogens and insect pests that reduce seed yield and quality. These genes have been introduced primarily through biparental mating or backcrossing. The advent of modern DNA technology has provided plant breeders and geneticists with new tools to study genetic inheritance and improve selection efficiency. Attempts to generate useful variation not present in compatible germplasm have focused on mutagenesis and more recently biotechnology. Biotechnological approaches allow novel genes from distantly related or unrelated germplasm to be introduced into pea. These genes often confer resistance to pathogens and insect pests for which no known resistance is available or to improve seed quality. Genetic improvement in the pea crop will ensure its continued use in cropping systems and as a food source for humans and livestock worldwide.
Technical Abstract: Dry pea (Pisum sativum L.) was domesticated over 9000 years ago and used as livestock feed or for human consumption. Pea is a cool-season legume crop produced throughout the world in cool temperate climates. Major production constraints include diseases and stresses caused by biotic and abiotic agents. Although viral and fungal pathogens impact seed production and quality, natural resistance is available and has been incorporated into many adapted cultivars. Population improvement has been achieved through biparental mating or backcrossing to introduce novel traits from distantly related germplasm and landraces as well as cyclical hybridization to pyramid favorable alleles. Mutagenesis has also been used to create novel genetic variation. Since Gregor Mendel's initial discovery of inheritance many geneticists have discovered novel traits and created detailed genetic maps of the Pisum genome. These markers and genetic maps make it possible to use marker assisted selection as a tool in cultivar development. Development of efficient gene transfer techniques through biotechnology provide additional tools to develop resistance to insect and fungal pathogens. Nutritional and agronomic benefits of dry pea ensure its continued production and application of modern biotechnology promises to overcome many of the constraints currently limiting production.