CGIAR Partners Decode Chickpea Genome

28 January 2013: In a breakthrough that may lead to new, improved varieties of chickpeas with drought tolerance and disease resistance, scientists from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) have decoded the genome sequences of 90 chickpea varieties from 10 countries.

Chickpea is a drought tolerant and high protein crop that is central to food security in India and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The article describing the research identifies clues on how the genome sequence can be used to improve crop yields in marginal environments. The research began by sequencing the large seeded CDC Frontier chickpea variety, followed by resequencing the additional genotypes, which can be used to identify genetic markers. The work will help to reduce the time to develop new varieties of chickpea.

The research was part of efforts by the International Chickpea Genome Sequencing Consortium (ICGSC) led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a member of the CGIAR. [CGIAR Press Release] [Publication: Draft genome sequence of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) provides a resource for trait improvement]