Pre-breeding efforts for better traits in pigeonpea

Annual Review Meeting of GCDT-ICRISAT collaborative research project and participation in Pigeonpea Field Day

With a view to using new and diverse sources of genetic variations in pigeonpea, the Pre-breeding Theme at ICRISAT is leading the drive to use wild Cajanus species to create new variability for ready use in its pigeonpea breeding program.

The narrow genetic base of cultivated pigeonpea is one of the major factors hindering its genetic improvement. Despite large breeding efforts, pigeonpea productivity is still not more than 0.8-0.9 t/ha across varied agro-ecologies in the country. There is a growing need to meet the demand for nutritious food, for instance, legumes such as pigeonpea.

To mitigate this challenge, under Phase I of the project, ‘Identification of superior alleles and lines from wild Cajanus species for pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) improvement’, promising introgression lines (ILs) were identified. Under the ongoing Phase II’ Utilization of introgression lines derived from wild Cajanus species for pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) improvement’, these high-yielding, salinity-tolerant and disease-resistant ILs are being evaluated in multiple agro-ecologies and socio-economic settings.