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Trait mapping and molecular breeding

Charmarthi, S.K., Kumar, A., Vuong, T.D., Blair, M.W., Gaur, P.M., Nguyen, H.T. and Varshney, R.K.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131 (2011) Trait mapping and molecular breeding. In: Pratap, A. and Kumar, J., (eds.) Biology and Breeding of Food Legumes. CABI.


The role of legumes in agricultural development has been that of providing long-term stability to agricultural systems. Legumes and cereals have co-evolved since ancient times. They have acted as a major contributory factor in sustaining agricultural production throughout the millennia. Grain and forage legumes are grown on~ 190 million ha, and their production is about 300 million metric t worldwide (ICRISAT, 2009). Unfortunately, yield improvements in legume crops have not kept pace with those of cereals. The majority of legumes, apart from soybean, have literally been termed ‘orphan crops’ in the sense that they are devoid of a well-developed infrastructure (both knowledge and physical capacity) for genetic and genomic analysis or molecular breeding. This lack of infrastructure has restricted the biotechnological crop improvement strategies available for these crops. In this context, there is a need to increase the availability of genomic data and resources in key species and also to decrease the barriers that limit the adoption of complex genomic data sets by crop improvement specialists. Part of the solution lies in training the next generation of scientists to navigate both basic and applied plant science. This in turn, will improve the capacity for the uptake of new biotechnologies and reduce the ‘gap’between genomics and traditional versus modern molecular breeding. This chapter provides general concepts of trait mapping and molecular breeding in food legumes, citing the examples of soybean, common bean and chickpea where development and use of genetic and genomic resources are at an advanced stage.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: CABI
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