The Pigeon Pea Pre-breeding Project

Identification of superior alleles and lines from wild Cajanus species for pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) improvement






The project “Identification of superior alleles and lines from wild Cajanus species for pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) improvement” is implemented by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, India; the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Warangal, India and Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Tirupathi, India.

Pigeonpea is the sixth most important grain legume crop in the tropics and subtropics and an important source of livelihoods for small-scale farmers throughout Asia as well as Eastern and Southern Africa. Globally, it is cultivated on 5.32 million ha with India being the major pigeonpea-growing country in the world. Wild relatives of pigeonpea possess high levels of resistance against various biotic/abiotic stresses and provide a novel source of genetic variation for the improvement of pigeonpea cultivars.

This project seeks to evaluate crop wild relative introgression lines for resistance or tolerance to biotic, abiotic stress and yield related traits and make them available to breeders. The project will take place from 2015–2018 and will make use of already existing pre-breeding populations from crosses between cultivated and wild Cajanus species from secondary and tertiary genepools that have been generated at ICRISAT, Patancheru. 610 lines from advance generation backcross populations will be evaluated for tolerance/resistance to salinity and Phytophthora blight. Introgression lines with high levels of resistance/tolerance will be evaluated in Patancheru, Warangal, Tirupathi, and Hyderabad, India for yield-related traits. Furthermore about 50 lines from a backcross population that was derived from a pod borer resistant wild relative accession will be advanced and evaluated to identify resistant introgression lines.

Promising lines showing resistance to salinity, Phytophthora blight and pod borer will be made available through the ICRISAT genebank.