Chickpea is an important grain legume of the semi arid tropics and warm temperate zones, and forms one of the major components of human diet. However, a narrow genetic base of cultivated chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) has hindered the progress in realizing high yield gains in breeding programs. Furthermore, various abiotic and biotic stresses are the major bottlenecks for increasing chickpea productivity. Systematic collection and evaluation of wild species for useful traits has revealed presence of a diverse gene pool for tolerance to the biotic and abiotic stresses. Relationships among the species of genus Cicer are presented based on crossability, karyotype and molecular markers. The reproductive barriers encountered during interspecific hybridization are also examined. Recent information on genetic linkage maps, comparison of isozymes and different DNA marker systems used for diversity analysis in chickpea germplasm, tagging of genes/QTLs for qualitative and quantitative traits and progress in application of marker assisted selection and genomics in chickpea are presented.
Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews (2008) 25, 267-314