Multi-location evaluation of six pigeonpea pre-breeding lines through India’s national program

Developed at ICRISAT, these lines have been selected by the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Pigeonpea

Six high-yielding pigeonpea pre-breeding lines derived from wild Cajanus species with an average yield potential ranging from 1,400- 3,000 kg/ha, were proposed for initial varietal trials across India for the 2019-20 crop season. This development is significant on two counts. One is of pre-breeding lines directly reaching the varietal pipeline and the second is the utilization of wild Cajanus species for broadening the ‘stagnant’ genetic base of pigeonpea cultivars in India.

Current breeding programs in India have been using a ‘cultivated’ gene pool wherein the narrow genetic base and unadaptive segregants led to yield stagnation at around 850 kg/ha in the past 70 years in varied ecologies of the country. Further, pigeonpea improvement programs are focusing on developing short-duration varieties, particularly in mid-early maturity duration group. Concerted efforts at genetic enhancement of pigeonpea by using wild Cajanus species at ICRISAT resulted in the development of a number of high-yielding introgression lines in different maturity duration groups. Amongst these, six lines derived from popular variety Asha (ICPL 87119) as the recipient and wild Cajanus acutifolius and C. cajanifolius as donor parents performed exceedingly well in Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states of India which account for about 90% of the pigeonpea cultivated area in the country.