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4Gs in crop breeding for pulses improvement in developing countries

Varshney, R.K.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131 (2018) 4Gs in crop breeding for pulses improvement in developing countries. In: Plant and Animal Genome (PAG Asia) Conference 2018, 30 May - 1 June 2018, Seoul, Korea.


Pulses are rich sources of dietary protein (20-30% of total weight), carbohydrates (55-65%), essential amino acids and significant amount of micronutrients with very low calories. These crops play an important role in global food and nutritional security, especially in the context of climate change and limited water availability for agriculture. However, the crop productivity of pulses has been less than 1 ton per hectare. Various biotic and abiotic stresses are the major constraints leading to significant yield losses in pulse production. In this context, 4Gs i.e. germplasm, genomes, genes/markers and genomics and their integrated use hold great potential for bringing much need disruptive change in crop improvement. Germplasm (1st G) collections stored in genebanks should be well characterised preferably in extreme conditions for future breeding traits. Superior germplasm lines may be useful for introgressing desired traits as well as enhancing genetic base of cultivated genepool. Genomes (2nd G) and their sequencing and re-sequencing can provide superior alleles and markers with higher prediction value for target traits by using genome-wide association study and linkage mapping approaches. Genes (3rd G) with causal effect can be identified by using functional genomics and systems biology approaches. Genomics (4th G) technologies should become the integral part of crop improvement programs by deploying genomics-assisted breeding approaches such as early generation screening, marker-assisted backcrossing, genomic selection and genome editing. While discussing the role of the above mentioned 4Gs, some examples of integrated use of 4Gs in pulses improvement for developing countries will be presented. In summary, accelerated deployment of 4Gs is expected to enhance, precision, efficiency and effectiveness of breeding programs to deliver climate-resilient varieties and higher genetic gains in developing countries.

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