Submitted to: Intsormil
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2005
Publication Date: 1/15/2006
Citation: Wilson, J. P. 2006. Breeding pearl millet for improved stability, performance, and pest resistance. International Sorghum and Millet CRSP 2005 Annual Report, INTSORMIL publication 05-01. pg. 55-60. (Technical report).
Interpretive Summary: not required
Technical Abstract: Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br] provides a staple, primary caloric source to millions of people in semi-arid tropical areas of Africa and Asia, and a high quality temporary grazing crop in livestock production in the U.S. Although it is a hardy crop well-adapted to dry production areas, yield and stability of forage, stover, and grain are vulnerable to a number of biotic and abiotic stresses. Diseases and pests can be significant production constraints and significant effort is directed toward identifying resistance sources. Primary biotic constraints in West Africa include downy mildew (Sclerospora graminicola (Sacc.) Schroet.), striga (Striga hermonthica Benth.), and head miner (Heliocheilus albipunctella (de Joannis)). Constraints in the U.S. include rust (Puccinia substriata var. indica), pyricularia leaf blight (Pyricularia grisea / Magnoporthe grisea), root knot nematode (Meloidogyne arenaria), and chinch bug (Blissus leucopterus leucopterus). Drought is a significant production constraint in all production environments. The goals of this research are to improve the productivity, yield stability, and pest resistance of pearl millet cultivars. Achieving these goals throughout Africa or in the U.S. require 1) identifying constraints limiting production or utilization within and across environments, 2) acquiring and evaluating new germplasm for desirable characteristics, 3) crossing selected germplasm with regionally adapted breeding lines or cultivars, 4) selecting and evaluating improved progeny as potential new cultivars. Information on resistance to diverse pests and diseases and their impact can be directly applied to genetic improvement to improve both forage and grain yield and quality.