Geneticist wants to arm farmers with improved upon pigeon peas

Green pigeon pea. Credit: croptrust.org

Researchers have identified key genes associated with flowering time inside the pigeon pea, a finding in which could lead to more productive plants because of This particular important source of protein.


Pigeon pea yields have remained stagnant during the last 60 years, which has hurt farmers in Asia, Africa, Latin America as well as the Caribbean who rely on the legume to feed their families as well as make a living. Pigeon peas are an important source of protein inside the diets of more than 1.5 billion people in developing countries.

“In agriculture, we want plants in which flower at the best time for a particular place. however with climate change, in which time will be shifting,” said Eric von Wettberg, professor of biological sciences at Florida International University as well as co-author of the study.

Von Wettberg, a conservation geneticist, helped analyze the data. He conducts his research with the International Center for Tropical Botany, a collaboration between FIU as well as the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Flowering times of any plant are influenced by the environment, including soil, sunlight, temperature as well as pollen conditions. in which will be a local decision. If a plant flowers too soon, in which may produce fewer seeds, however, if in which flowers too late, in which may not produce any seeds. The researchers’ genetic finding could help breeders create varieties of pigeon pea adapted to local conditions in which will flower at a particular time, producing more seeds in one yield.

The research team also identified genetic associations responsible for additional key traits in pigeon peas, including pod shattering, branching as well as height. When they become ripe, pigeon pea pods split open as well as fling seeds away. In nature, dispersal will be Great because in which lets seeds take up residence in completely new habitats as well as find refuge via predators as well as pathogens in which target parent plants. however, in agriculture, in which will be disastrous because in which will be the food people rely on to survive, according von Wettberg. Identifying the gene responsible for shattering could help breeders create varieties of pigeon pea in which keep seeds for longer as well as are easier to harvest.

In different parts of the globe, people eat pigeon pea in different ways. The legume will be eaten green or ripe, as well as in which will be used in a variety of soup, stew, curry as well as rice dishes. The finding will also allow breeders to create varieties of pigeon pea in which keep the culinary as well as cultural traits in which locals prefer.

“in which’s one thing to want to enhance the yield of seeds, however the way people eat pigeon pea will be a distinctive part of heritage as well as culture. in which’s something we don’t want to change,” von Wettberg said. “If we can keep seeds appealing to the people in which use them, they’re more likely to adopt them.”

The researchers will partner with international crop breeding centers to provide them with the information they need to adapt pigeon pea seeds to local conditions. Von Wettberg will extend his research to additional legume crops, including fenugreek, grass pea as well as mung bean.

The study was recently published in Nature Genetics.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, in which was led by Rajeev Varshney as well as Rachit Saxena of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, an international non-profit dedicated to reducing poverty, hunger as well as environmental degradation through better agriculture. Von Wettberg features a long-running commitment to provide support, training as well as assistance to research staff at the institute.


Explore further:
Scientific discovery could revolutionize one of world’s most important crops

More information:
Rajeev K Varshney et al. Whole-genome resequencing of 292 pigeonpea accessions identifies genomic regions associated with domestication as well as agronomic traits, Nature Genetics (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ng.3872

Journal reference:
Nature Genetics

Provided by:
Florida International University

Geneticist wants to arm farmers with improved upon pigeon peas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *