The Lentil Pre-breeding Project

Using Crop Wild Relatives for Future Lentil Breeding: Evaluation of Drought and Disease Resistance of Interspecific Hybrid Lines


The lentil pre-breeding work of the Project is being led by the lentil genetic research and breeding group at the University of Saskatchewan as well as collaborators at the University of Leon. Other partners include Harran University in Turkey, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, the Nepal Agriculture Research Council, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Morocco. The lentil pre-breeding work is scheduled to take place between 2013 and 2016.

The University of Saskatchewan and University of Leon teams have developed a series of interspecific recombinant inbred lines (RILs) through their work crossing cultivated lentil (Lens culinaris) with wild lentil species Lens orientalis, Lens odemensis, and Lens ervoides. The objective of the Project’s lentil pre-breeding work is to evaluate these hybrids phenotypically and to characterize them through genotyping to establish a strong foundation from which to broaden the genetic base of lentil breeding programs. In particular, the team’s efforts will focus on identifying sources of 1) resistance to Orobanche, also known as broomrape (Harran University and ICARDA); 2) resistance to stemphyllium blight (Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and Nepal Agriculture Research Council); and 3) drought tolerance (ICARDA, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and Nepal Agriculture Research Council). The existing inter-specific hybrid lines will be evaluated in multiple, diverse environments in several countries and under specific stresses.

Modern high-yielding lentil varieties are typically characterized by a narrow genetic background due to the small number of parents used in breeding programs. The Project’s lentil pre-breeding work is intended to make available to breeders a broader set of lentil genes to use to help maintain the diversity of crop production in lentil-growing regions around the world, which are typically cool and dry and particularly susceptible to climate change. The pre-breeding project’s focus on three of the greatest threats to lentil cultivation (drought, Orobanche, and stemphylium blight) is designed to help increase the resilience of lentil production worldwide and contribute to global food security.

For more information, please visit the project website

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