Chickpea is the third most important grain legume grown in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. In spite of vast germplasm accessions available in different genebanks, there has been very limited use of these accessions in genetic enhancement of chickpea. However, in recent years, specialized germplasm subsets such as global composite collection, core collection, mini core collection and reference set have been developed. In parallel, significant genomic resources such as molecular markers including simple sequence repeats (SSRs), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), diversity arrays technology (DArT) and transcript sequences, e.g. expressed sequence tags, short transcript reads, have been developed. By using SSR, SNP and DArT markers, integrated genetic maps have been developed. It is anticipated that the use of genomic resources and specialized germplasm subsets such as mini core collection and reference set will facilitate identification of trait-specific germplasm, trait mapping and allele mining for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and for agronomic traits. Advent of the next generation sequencing technologies coupled with advances in bioinformatics offers the possibility of undertaking large-scale sequencing of germplasm accessions so that modern breeding approaches such as genomic selection and breeding by design can be realized in near future for chickpea improvement.
Varshney, R.K.; Dronavalli, N.; Gujaria, N.; Sharma, S.; Singh, S.; Thudi, M.; Upadhyaya, H.D. Genomic tools and germplasm diversity for chickpea improvement. Plant Genetic Resources (2011) 9 (01) 45-58. [DOI: 10.1017/S1479262110000468]