The Pearl Millet Pre-Breeding Project

Synthesis of new abiotic and biotic stress tolerant gene pool through introgression of alleles from wild species into pearl millet cultivars


This Project is implemented by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, India and Niamey, Niger and the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCS-HAU), Hisar, India.

Pearl millet is an important cereal crop of arid and semi-arid regions of Africa and India where it is grown for food, feed and fodder. Cultivated globally on about 30 million ha, mostly in marginal environments. Pearl millet crop wild relatives are a rich reservoir of valuable genes for tolerance to various abiotic and resistance to biotic stresses.

This project will develop pre-bred lines using crop wild relatives and will evaluate them for resistance or tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and make them available for pearl millet improvement. The pearl millet pre-breeding project will take place from 2015 – 2018 and will make use of interspecific populations resulting from crosses between P. glaucum subsp. violaceum (= P. monodii) and agronomically superior pearl millet backgrounds. These populations will be advanced and evaluated for terminal drought stress and flowering stage heat tolerance under controlled environmental facilities and in the field in four locations in India. Heat and terminal drought tolerant introgression lines will be screened for blast resistance to identify promising introgression lines (ILs). The lines will be made available through the ICRISAT genebank in India to pearl millet breeders and researchers from around the world.

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