The urgent need to explore novel ways to enhance pigeonpea productivity through crop improvement was underlined at the Second International Conference on Bio-resource and Stress Management held in Hyderabad recently. Pigeonpea productivity has remained stagnant over the last few decades, thereby depriving the predominantly vegetarian population in India of a main source of protein.

Presenting a paper on “Advances in pigeonpea research”, ICRISAT’s pigeonpea breeder Dr CV Sameer Kumar highlighted the research being done in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Pulses Research, towards tackling this challenge. The joint areas of research include:
Application of genome sequencing and genomic resources in crop improvement Development of Cytoplasmic Genic Male Sterile hybrids with 30-40% yield advantage over traditional varieties Development of photo-insensitive super-early maturing lines Introgression of cleistogamous flower structure to maintain genetic purity of elite lines  Use of obcordate leaf shape as Naked-Eye Polymorphic marker to assess the genetic purity of hybrid parental lines Development of disease-resistant hybrids and elite breeding lines.

The conference organized by Ratikant Maiti Foundation (West Bengal), Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University and Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, was attended by 700 delegates from around the world, with 300 oral presentations and 155 poster sessions on agriculture and allied fields.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings