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G4008.12: Linking genetic diversity with phenotype for drought tolerance traits through molecular and physiological characterization of a diverse reference collection of chickpea

Krishnamurthy, L., Varshney, R.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131, Thudi, M., Upadhyaya, H.D., Hoisington, D., Tobita, S., Ito, O. and Sheshshayee, M.S. (2011) G4008.12: Linking genetic diversity with phenotype for drought tolerance traits through molecular and physiological characterization of a diverse reference collection of chickpea. Project Updates. CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme .


World wide, terminal drought is a key constraint to chickpea productivity. Incorporation of morphological and physiological traits that are strongly associated with drought tolerance into well adapted genetic backgrounds is expected to improve the yield stability. The accessions of chickpea reference collection were chosen to be phenotyped for carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C), the best opted estimate of transpiration efficiency (TE). These accessions were also phenotyped for specific leaf area (SLA) and SPAD chlorophyll meter readings that are considered as two other proxies for TE. The collaborating centres, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore and ICRISAT, Patancheru, were chosen on the basis of diversity in short duration growing environment and Isotope-ratio mass spectrometry capability of University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore and JIRCAS, Japan.

The field experiments conducted both in 2008-09 and 2009-10 at ICRISAT, Patancheru, had shown that the accessions of the reference collection ranged from 35 to 66 days in 50% flowering and 79 to 115 days to maturity and the optimum irrigation application extended the mean maturity time by 15 days. Shoot biomass production ranged from 2800 to 5500 kg ha-1 and the grain yields ranged from 1400 to 2800 kg ha-1 under terminal drought that was found enhanced with optimum irrigation to 3600 to 8900 in shoot biomass and 700- 2300 in seed yield. Large variations in Δ13C values were observed that ranged from -0.25.5 to -0.28.0 in 2008-09 and -24.2 to -27.2 in 2009-10 under drought while the range was narrow under optimally irrigated conditions. Δ13C variation was significantly associated with per day grain productivity and the explained 7% of the variation in 2008-09 while 25% in 2009-10. Also the phenology and the yield components were also largely and significantly associated with Δ13C. SPAD or SLA, the surrogates of TE, were not significantly associated with Δ13C but SLA and SPAD were significantly and negatively associated with each other. The trials at UAS, Bangalore did not succeed in both the years due a late sowing in 2008-09 and a poor germination in 2009-10. A genotyping using DArT markers resulted in identifying 1157 polymorphic markers on the reference collection. The marker trait association lead to the identification two DArT markers that were closely associated with the Δ13C trait under terminal drought.

The results and general experience was shared with the future NARS users and collaborators in Tropical Legumes I and II from Africa and Asia in a training cum capacity building workshop conducted between 25-29 May 2010 at JIRCAS, Japan and Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.

Parellel findings in another study had revealed that the QTL for Δ13C also colocalized the same genomic region where large number of QTLs for various other drought tolerance traits, related to root traits, yield and HI. This offers an advantage for the ongoing molecular breeding efforts in chickpea drought tolerance where an introgression of this genomic region into elite cultivars is expected to improve all the desirable traits in one attempt. Also the root QTL introgressed progenies (BC3F3) developed in a parallel study can be an ideal material to look for these markers in the selection process. The results are being written up as journal articles and the data will be uploaded into the GCP central registry after Sep 2011.

Item Type: Others
Publisher: CIMMYT
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