The project “Trait discovery and deployment through mainstreaming the wild gene pool in grasspea breeding programs to adapt to climate change” is implemented by International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Morocco; Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Morocco; the University of Kolkata, India and Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK), Germany.
Grass pea is one of the few crops with potential for adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and therefore can contribute to sustaining the livelihoods of poor communities living under harsh conditions. It is adapted to dry areas and have multiple purposes at the farm level (feed and food). Its low yields can be associated to combined effects of complex biotic and abiotic stresses and poor crop management. Crop wild relatives offer opportunities for significant improvement in diseases and insect resistance and tolerance to drought, heat, and salinity.
This project that aims at strengthening the efforts of introgressing valuable genes from wild species using most advanced breeding and biotechnology tools, will take place from 2016 – 2018. The focus for grass pea will be on transferring genes of low or no β-ODAP, resistance/tolerance to parasitic weed broomrape (Orobanche), powdery mildew, aphids, and heat to cope with adverse effects of climate change and having the appropriate earliness better fit within rice-based rotations from crossable species.
It is expected that the pre-breeding efforts will supply the breeders at ICARDA and around the world with new and diverse breeding lines that can be used to breed new resilient varieties. The project will also strengthen the capacity of NARS (Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) in genebank documentation.