Evaluation and Identification of Promising Introgression Lines Derived From Wild Cajanus Species for Broadening the Genetic Base of Cultivated Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.]
Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.], a multipurpose and nutritious grain legume crop, is cultivated for its protein-rich seeds mainly in South Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa. In spite of large breeding efforts for pigeonpea improvement in India and elsewhere, genetic enhancement is inadequate largely due to its narrow genetic base and crop susceptibility to stresses. Wild Cajanus species are novel source of genetic variations for the genetic upgradation of pigeonpea cultivars. In the present study, 75 introgression lines (ILs), derived from crosses involving cultivated pigeonpea variety ICPL 87119 and wild Cajanus cajanifolius and Cajanus acutifolius from the secondary gene pool, were evaluated for yield and yield-attributing traits in diverse environments across locations and years. Restricted maximum likelihood (REML) analysis revealed large genetic variations for days to 50% flower, days to maturity, plant height, primary branches per plant, pods per plant, pod weight per plant, 100-seed weight, and grain yield per plant. Superior ILs with mid-early to medium maturity duration identified in this study are useful genetic resources for use in pigeonpea breeding. Additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) analysis unfolded large influence of environment and genotype × environment interaction for variations in yield. A few lines such as ICPL 15023 and ICPL 15072 with yield stability were identified, while a number of lines were completely resistant (0%) to sterility mosaic diseases and/or Fusarium wilt. These lines are novel genetic resources for broadening the genetic base of pigeonpea and bring yield stability and stress tolerance. High-yielding lines ICPL 15010, ICPL 15062, and ICPL 15072 have been included in the initial varietal trials (IVTs) of the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on pigeonpea for wider evaluation across different agro-ecological zones in India for possible release as variety(ies).