Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/3/2006
Publication Date: 2/1/2007
Citation: Mcphee, K.E., Croser, J., Sarmah, B., Ali, S.S., P.N., R., Zhang, H.B., Higgins, T.J. 2007. Development of Transgenics in Chickpea. In: S.S. Yadav, B. Redden, W. Chen and B. Sharma (Eds.) Chickpea Breeding and Management. CABI International, UK. pp. 458-473. Interpretive Summary: Chickpea is an important legume crop and is grown in rotation with cereal crops to break disease cycles, allow grassy weed control and improve soil nutrient status through the return of atmospheric nitrogen fixed through symbiosis. Chickpea is challenged with many biotic and abiotic stresses for which little or no naturally available genetic variation is available for improvement through traditional breeding. Genetic transformation technology offers new opportunities to induce resistance to stress conditions using novel genes. Genetic transformation is also a powerful tool for basic genetic inquiry, especially through complementation tests. A viable transformation protocol has been developed for chickpea using Agrobacterium tumefaciens as a means to transfer the novel gene in to plant cells. Transgenic chickpea plants have been developed with resistance to the pod borer (Helicoverpa armigera) and the bruchid seed pest (Callosobruchus maculatus and C. chinensis). This technology has great potential for agronomic improvement and to allow significant advancement in genetic study of the chickpea crop.
Technical Abstract: Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an important food crop in much of the developing world and ranks third in production among food legumes. Chickpea production is limited worldwide by drought, insect damage from Helicoverpa armigera, Callosobruchus maculatus and C. chinensis and disease pressure from fusarium wilt and ascochyta blight. Efforts to overcome these production constraints through traditional breeding is difficult due to limited genetic variation. Genetic transformation offers the opportunity to overcome hybridization barriers and introduce novel genes for resistance. Although direct gene transfer via direct DNA transfer has been reported, Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation is the preferred method and standard protocols have been established in many laboratories worldwide. Production of transgenic plantlets derived from co-cultivation of embryonic axes was soon adopted due to difficulties associated with regeneration of whole plants from callus. Stable integration of the cryIA(c) gene for resistance to H. armigera was the first report of chickpea transformation with a gene other than a reporter gene. Subsequently, the alpha amylase inhibitor gene has been successfully incorporated and expressed for resistance to Callosobruchus spp. In addition to introducing genes of agronomic importance, genetic transformation is a powerful tool for the study of gene function and genome organization. Chickpea improvement and application of genomics tools to the study of the chickpea genome will be enhanced through the use of genetic transformation.