In a first of its kind, introgression lines using Marker Assisted Backcross Breeding (MABC) for foliar fungal disease resistance have been bred in groundnut. This distinction was achieved in collaboration with Indian National Agricultural Research System (NARS) partners.

Foliar fungal diseases, like rust and leaf spot, in groundnut account for 15% losses in Asia and 20% each in Eastern and Southern Africa and West and Central Africa. Cultivation of disease resistant varieties will result in enhanced groundnut production, improved livelihoods, nutritional wellbeing, as well as additional income to farmers from use of haulms as fodder.

Three popular groundnut varieties – ICGV 91114, JL 24 and TAG 24 – were improved for foliar fungal disease resistance. ICGV 91114 is a drought tolerant variety, and JL 24 and TAG 24 are widely cultivated in India. JL 24 is also popular in Africa.

Combining disease resistance with early maturity in groundnut is the most significant outcome of precision breeding approach using MABC. In a preliminary evaluation trail, the introgression lines recorded a pod yield increase of 20-96% over their respective recurrent parents, and a disease score similar to resistant donor GPBD 4.

The project developed by Dr AL Rathnakumar, Principal Scientist, Directorate of Groundnut Research (DGR) and Dr P Janila, Senior Scientist – Groundnut Breeding, ICRISAT is supported by the Competitive Grants Scheme of the CGIAR Research Program Grain Legumes

“This is a great opportunity to deliver science innovations to farmers. I look forward to include MABC trials in national testing by the All India Coordinated Research Project on Groundnut,” said  Dr Radhakrishnan, Director, DGR.

About 57 introgression lines will be tested in the 2015 rainy season in six major groundnut growing states (Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana) in India. Researchers from DGR, state agricultural universities and ICRISAT will collaborate to conduct the multilocation trials. Multilocation evaluation of MABC lines will help identify promising introgression lines for recommendation to state and national varietal release trials and subsequently released for cultivation.

Project partners came together at a work plan meeting held on 12 January at DGR, Junagadh, India.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings