Terminal drought is one of the major constraints in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), causing more than 50% production losses. With the objective of accelerating genetic understanding and crop improvement through genomics-assisted breeding, a draft genome sequence has been assembled for the CDC Frontier variety. In this context, 544.73 Mb of sequence data were assembled, capturing of 73.8% of the genome in scaffolds. In addition, large-scale genomic resources including several thousand simple sequence repeats and several million single nucleotide polymorphisms, high-density diversity array technology (15 360 clones) and Illumina GoldenGate assay genotyping platforms, high-density genetic maps and transcriptome assemblies have been developed. In parallel, by using linkage mapping approach, one genomic region harbouring quantitative trait loci for several drought tolerance traits has been identified and successfully introgressed in three leading chickpea varieties (e.g. JG 11, Chefe, KAK 2) by using a marker-assisted backcrossing approach. A multilocation evaluation of these marker-assisted backcrossing lines provided several lines with 10–24% higher yield than the respective recurrent parents. Modern breeding approaches like marker-assisted recurrent selection and genomic selection are being deployed for enhancing drought tolerance in chickpea. Some novel mapping populations such as multiparent advanced generation intercross and nested association mapping populations are also being developed for trait mapping at higher resolution, as well as for enhancing the genetic base of chickpea. Such advances in genomics and genomics-assisted breeding will accelerate precision and efficiency in breeding for stress tolerance in chickpea.
Thudi, M.; Gaur, P.M.; Krishnamurthy, L.; Mir, R.R.; Kudapa, H.; Fikre, A.; Kimurto, P.; Tripathi, S.; Soren, K.R.; Mulwa, R.; Bharadwaj, C.; Datta, S.; Chaturvedi, S.K.; Varshney, R.K. Genomics-assisted breeding for drought tolerance in chickpea. Functional Plant Biology (2014) 41 (11) 1178-1190. [DOI: 10.1071/FP13318]