A good pearl millet hybrid gets even better
A team of researchers in India has bettered an immensely popular pearl millet hybrid, HHB 67 Improved, endowing it with 58% higher resistance to downy mildew (DM) disease. The latest improvement has also increased the hybrid’s blast resistance by 12%, grain yield by 15% and dry fodder yield by 21% while retaining its hallmark early-maturity trait.
Researchers at ICRISAT partnered with Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU) and ICAR-All India Coordinated Research Project on Pearl Millet (AICRP-PM) for the second cycle improvement of HHB 67 Improved hybrid. Using genome-wide simple sequence repeat (SSR) DNA markers, three DM resistance loci (quantitative trait loci or QTLs) were moved to the male parent of HHB 67 Improved. Scientists at ICRISAT’s Center of Excellence in Genomics and System Biology, Genetic Gains Research Program, stacked the three DM resistance QTLs from different chromosomes (linkage groups 3, 4 and 6) of the donor parents.
The latest improvement has been christened HHB 67 Improved 2-7 (meaning HHB 67 Improved second cycle improvement, 7th version). It was tested in Essentially Derived Variety multi-location, multiyear trials of AICRP-PM in A1 and A (dry) zones of India.