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Genomics and molecular breeding in lesser explored pulse crops: Current trends and future opportunities

Bohra, A., Jha, U.C., Kishor, P.B.K., Pandey, S. and Singh, N.P. (2014) Genomics and molecular breeding in lesser explored pulse crops: Current trends and future opportunities. Biotechnology Advances, 32 (8). pp. 1410-1428.

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Pulses are multipurpose crops for providing income, employment and food security in the underprivileged regions, notably the FAO-defined low-income food-deficit countries. Owing to their intrinsic ability to endure environmental adversities and the least input/management requirements, these crops remain central to subsistence farming. Given their pivotal role in rain-fed agriculture, substantial research has been invested to boost the productivity of these pulse crops. To this end, genomic tools and technologies have appeared as the compelling supplement to the conventional breeding. However, the progress in minor pulse crops including dry beans (Vigna spp.), lupins, lablab, lathyrus and vetches has remained unsatisfactory, hence these crops are often labeled as low profile or lesser researched. Nevertheless, recent scientific and technological breakthroughs particularly the next generation sequencing (NGS) are radically transforming the scenario of genomics and molecular breeding in these minor crops. NGS techniques have allowed de novo assembly of whole genomes in these orphan crops. Moreover, the availability of a reference genome sequence would promote re-sequencing of diverse genotypes to unlock allelic diversity at a genome-wide scale. In parallel, NGS has offered high-resolution genetic maps or more precisely, a robust genetic framework to implement whole-genome strategies for crop improvement. As has already been demonstrated in lupin, sequencing-based genotyping of the representative sample provided access to a number of functionally-relevant markers that could be deployed straight away in crop breeding programs. This article attempts to outline the recent progress made in genomics of these lesser explored pulse crops, and examines the prospects of genomics assisted integrated breeding to enhance and stabilize crop yields.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
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