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David Bond and Jean Picard, two leaders of European legume breeding, died within a few months of each other. On the basis of their agronomic and genetic training, they both met the challenge of breeding faba bean, a protein-rich species that had received little attention from breeders before the 1950s (Picard, 1953; Bond 1957). Both made great strides at modernizing their chosen crop by developing and applying new ideas and techniques, as well as generating new methods and genetic materials.
Faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is a valuable grain legume and a staple protein crop in many countries. Its large and complex genome requires novel approaches for its genetic dissection. Here we introduce a multi-parent population developed from four founders (ILB 938/2, Disco/2, IG 114476 and IG 132238). The selection of parental lines was based on geographic (Colombia, France, Bangladesh and China), genetic and phenotypic diversity. The parental lines were inbred and then genotyped using 875 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Based on molecular data, the parents had high homozygosity and high genetic distance among them. The population segregates for several important traits such as seed morphology, seed chemistry, phenology, plant architecture, drought response, yield and its components, and resistance to Botrytis fabae. The population was checked for unbiased segregation in each generation by observing simply inherited Mendelian traits such as stipule spot pigmentation (SSP) and flower colour at different generations. All 1200 four-way cross F1 plants had pigmented flowers and stipule spots. The segregation ratios for white flower colour (single gene, zt2) fit 7:1, 13:3 and 25:7 at F2, F3 and F4 generations, respectively, and the segregation ratio of SSP (two recessive unlinked genes, ssp1 and ssp2) fit 49:15 and 169:87 at the F2 and F3 generations, respectively, demonstrating unbiased generation advance. We will subject the F5 generation of this population to a high-throughput SNP array and make it available for further phenotyping and genotyping.
Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin) is a forage legume crop with many positive agronomic, environmental, nutritional and nutraceutical attributes. Farmers also benefit from its drought tolerance in areas of low rainfall and light free draining soil, mainly due to its deep taproot. It is resistant to most common pest and diseases and is a valuable resource for pollinators, specifically cultivated for honey production in some regions. It has many benefits for animals, being highly palatable and without danger of bloat, which can be life-threatening to livestock. Its decline in Northern Europe started during the Green Revolution and was impacted by changes towards more intensive farming. Unlike other forage legume crops such as red clover and lucerne, sainfoin does not respond well to inputs and is difficult to establish and maintain. Sainfoin could be classified as an ‘orphan crop’ with very little genetic improvement or agronomic studies in the past 60 years. In the past 5–10 years, however, there has been a resurgence in interest and this has given rise to a number of studies and initiation of systematic improvement of the crop, which is indispensable to its reintroduction into the farmed environment. Interest has been driven in part by considerable evidence to suggest that condensed tannins present in the legume foliage, together with other polyphenol compounds, have positive effects on animal nutrition together with anthelmintic properties. These compounds are also thought to play a role in environmental benefits. There remain many challenges to address in order to optimize the potential for cultivation of sainfoin and its use as a beneficial forage crop. This review makes particular reference to a recently completed project; ‘Legume Plus’, funded by the European Union and embracing a multi-disciplinary approach to both understand and improve the crop for farmers. The present review covers results from both this project and other studies during the past 5 years, also drawing on historic studies of etymology, taxonomy, genetics, agronomy and botany, aiming to be a useful resource for research and for practical plant breeders and agronomists.
In order to gain an understanding of the genetic basis of traits of interest to breeders, the pea varieties Brutus, Enigma and Kahuna were selected, based on measures of their phenotypic and genotypic differences, for the construction of recombinant inbred populations. Reciprocal crosses were carried out for each of the three pairs, and over 200 F2 seeds from each cross advanced to F13. Bulked F7 seeds were used to generate F8–F11 bulks, which were grown in triplicated plots within randomized field trials and used to collect phenotypic data, including seed weight and yield traits, over a number of growing seasons. Genetic maps were constructed from the F6 generation to support the analysis of qualitative and quantitative traits and have led to the identification of four major genetic loci involved in seed weight determination and at least one major locus responsible for variation in yield. Three of the seed weight loci, at least one of which has not been described previously, were associated with the marrowfat seed phenotype. For some of the loci identified, candidate genes have been identified. The F13 single seed descent lines are available as a germplasm resource for the legume and pulse crop communities.
Here we review the potential of ILB 938 (IG 12132 – doi: 10.18730/60FD2), a unique faba bean accession originating from the Andean region of Colombia and Ecuador, maintained at ICARDA – International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, with resistance to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses and carrying some useful morphological markers. It has been used as a donor of leaf-related drought adaptation traits and chocolate spot (Botrytis fabae) resistance genes in faba bean breeding programmes worldwide. From generated populations of recombinant inbred lines, quantitative traits loci associated with these useful traits have been mapped. Other markers, such as a lack of stipule-spot pigmentation and clinging pod wall, show the presence of unusual changes in biochemical pathways that may have economic value in the future.
The Greek lentil landrace ‘Eglouvis’ is cultivated continuously at the Lefkada island for more than 400 years. It has great taste, high nutritional value and high market price. In the present study, we used morphological and molecular markers to estimate genetic diversity within the landrace. Morphological analysis was based on characteristics of the seed. Molecular analysis was performed using simple sequence repeat (SSR) molecular markers in a high-resolution melting (HRM) approach. ‘Samos’ and ‘Demetra’, two of the most widely cultivated commercial lentil varieties in Greece, were used for comparisons. Morphological analysis was performed with 584 seeds randomly selected from a lot. Analysis of seed dimensions and colour distributed the samples in different categories and highlighted the phenotypic variability in ‘Eglouvis’ lentil seeds. Genetic variability was estimated from 91 individual DNA samples with 11 SSR markers using HRM analysis. Genotyping was based upon the shape of the melting curves and the difference plots; all polymerase chain reaction products were also run on agarose gels. Genetic distances of individuals and principal coordinates analysis suggested that ‘Eglouvis’ landrace has a unique genetic background that significantly differs from ‘Samos’ and ‘Demetra’ and no overlapping could be detected. Genetic variability within the ‘Eglouvis’ landrace can be considered in targeted breeding programs as a significant phytogenetic resource of lentils in Greece.
Climate change forecasts point to increased frequency of droughts which may affect plant growth. For protein crops such as lentil, genetic improvement of both water use and drought tolerance is necessary. Wild lentil species are known to have evolved in drought prone areas and can be introgressed into cultivated lentil, making them candidates for the evaluation of high transpiration efficiency (TE) and drought tolerance. We assessed TE, water use and drought tolerance at the plant level for five wild lentil species and in cultivated lentil. Under fully watered and moderate drought conditions, wild lentil genotypes consumed significantly less water to fix similar or more dry matter compared with their cultivated counterparts. Under severe drought conditions, the wild lentil genotype L. ervoides IG 72815 had significantly higher TE compared with L. culinaris Eston. Lens ervoides L-01-827A, had significantly higher yield compared with all other species in the presence or absence of drought and showed significantly higher (α = 5%) TE under moderate drought. Drought susceptibility index was identified as a tool to identify drought-tolerant lentil genotypes grown under severe drought. The numerous small seeds of wild lentil made it difficult to estimate drought indices that are weight based and require formulae that incorporate seed numbers.
Iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) is common among groundnut grown in calcareous and alkaline soils in India, China and Pakistan and causes considerable reduction in pod yield. To identify genetically diverse IDC tolerant accessions, the mini-core collection of groundnut representing geographical diversity was evaluated for IDC response over 2 years in iron-deficient calcareous soils. Enormous genetic variability was evident in the mini-core collection for IDC tolerance-related traits such as a visual chlorotic rating (VCR) and SPAD chlorophyll meter reading (SCMR) across five growth stages. Several IDC tolerant sources belonging to different botanical varieties such as hypogaea bunch (ICG # 5051, 6766, 5286, 6667, 4538, 14008, 5663, 9842, 11855), hypogaea runner (ICG 10479), fastigiata (ICG 10890) and vulgaris (ICG # 11651, 118) were identified. Among the six botanical varieties of groundnut, hypogaea bunch types were found most tolerant to IDC and this is the first report in groundnut. The IDC tolerant sources identified were irrespective of their country of origin. The principal component analysis based on VCR, SCMR, pod yield and its related traits revealed five major principal components that explained 80% of the total variation. The biplot generated using PC1 and PC2 revealed a distinct separation of IDC tolerant genotypes from the susceptible ones. The hierarchical clustering using five major principal components revealed seven major clusters that were mainly based on IDC response of the accessions.
Mungbean seeds, despite being protected inside the pod, are susceptible to pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) following rainfall due to lack of fresh seed dormancy (FSD), which deteriorates the quality of the seed/grain produced. Therefore, development of mungbean cultivars with short (10–15 days) period of FSD has become important to curtail losses incurred by PHS. In this study, we investigated variations in PHS, fresh seed germination (FSG) and activity of α-amylase enzyme in diverse mungbean genotypes. There was a wide variation in PHS tolerance and FSG among 163 genotypes examined and 14 genotypes were found to be tolerant (<20%) to PHS. Seed germination in a pod, a measure used to evaluate PHS, varied from 7.14% in germplasm accession Chamu 4 to 82.52% in cultivated variety IPM 2–3. There was a marked increase in α-amylase activity in genotypes showing high FSG and PHS, especially at 48 and 72 h after germination as compared with PHS tolerant genotypes. Therefore, α-amylase can be used as an effective biochemical marker to evaluate a large number of mungbean genotypes for FSD and PHS. Also, the variation in seed germinability as found in this study could be further used for mungbean improvement programme.