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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370527

Research Project: Management of Priority Legume, Oilseed, Vegetable, Forage Grass, Sugar, Ornamental, and Medicinal Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research

Title: Potential and limits of exploitation of crop wild relatives for pea, lentil and chickpea improvement

item Coyne, Clarice - Clare
item KUMAR, SHIV - International Center For Agricultural Research(ICARDA)
item VON WETTBERG, ERIC B. - University Of Vermont
item MARQUES, EDWARD - University Of Vermont
item BERGER, JENS D. - Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
item REDDEN, ROBERT J. - Agresearch Consultants
item ELLIS, NOEL T.H. - University Of Auckland
item BRUS, JAN - Palacky University
item ZABLATZKÁ, LENKA - Palacky University
item SMYKAL, PETR - Palacky University

Submitted to: Legume Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2020
Publication Date: 4/7/2020
Citation: Coyne, C.J., Kumar, S., Von Wettberg, E., Marques, E., Berger, J., Redden, R., Ellis, N., Brus, J., Zablatzká, L., Smykal, P. 2020. Potential and limits of exploitation of crop wild relatives for pea, lentil and chickpea improvement. Legume Science. 2(2):1-25.

Interpretive Summary: Legumes represent the second most important family of crop plants after Poaceae (grass family), accounting for approximately 27% of the world's crop production. Dry pea currently ranks second after common bean as the most widely grown grain legume in the world with primary production in temperate regions and global production of 16 M tonnes at 8 Mha, followed by chickpea (14.7 M tonners, 14.5 Mha) and lentil (7.5 M tonnes, 6.5 Mha) (FAOSTAT, 2018). Without a rapid increase in yield, the legume production gap is projected to increase to 10 million tons by 2050. As a result of these yield gaps, there is a rising awareness of the need to ensure global food security. There is an urgency to breed for climate resilient crops, particularly for tolerances of heat, drought and temperature stresses. One option that is currently emphasized, is a more systematic and targeted use of crop wild relatives (CWR) of pea, chickpea and lentil in crop improvement programs. CWR contain a wealth of genetically important traits due to their adaptation to a diverse range of habitats and the fact that they have not passed through the genetic bottlenecks of domestication. Further, CWR had a far longer evolutionary history across more diverse environments, and today are found on uncultivated and often hostile soils, in challenging environments. Thus, the study of the phenology, molecular ecology and conservation of these taxa should be of high priority for crop improvement of pea, chickpea and lentil.

Technical Abstract: Legumes represent the second most important family of crop plants after grasses, accounting for approximately 27% of the world's crop production. Past domestication process resulted in high degree of relatedness between modern varieties leading to narrower genetic base of cultivated germplasm, prone to pests and diseases. Crop wild relatives (CWRs) harbour genetic diversity tested by natural selection in respective environment. To fully understand and exploit this process, studies in the geographical centers of origin are needed combining ecology, physiology and genetics. With the advent of modern genomics and computation, combined with systematic phenotyping, it is feasible to revisit wild accessions and landraces and prioritize their use for breeding providing source of disease resistance, drought tolerance, nutrient density etc. Establishment of hybrid population with CWRs give breeders a considerable benefit on the pre-breeding task of harnessing wild alleles and provides extremely valuable long term resources. There is need of further collecting and ex situ conservation of crop wild relative diversity of these taxa before the habitat is altered by human activities and climate change. We focus on three Fertile Crescent origination legume crops; pea, chickpea and lentil, and summarize the current state and potential of their respective crop wild relatives (CWR) for crop improvement.