Sub-theme 1c - Improving saline tolerance in chickpea


Specific sub-theme contributors:

Dr Timothy Sutton, Professor Timothy Colmer and Professor David Day


Progress in our understanding of the mechanisms of salinity tolerance in chickpea (Flowers et al., 2010) and identified variation in tolerance (Turner et al., 2013), illustrate the opportunity for genetic improvement for this trait. Physiological studies suggest the tolerance mechanism may involve differences in tissue tolerance and the sensitivity of the reproductive phase (possible similar trait sought in Theme 1a). We need to better understand the reproductive responses in chickpea to salinity and to test hypotheses about possible mechanisms (Samineni et al., 2011), including oxidative stress (Theme 1e). Available SNP data will be used for genome wide association mapping approaches in a chickpea diversity set. A biparental population derived from parents differing in tolerance to salinity (Rupali and Genesis 836) is currently under development (available in 2016), and will also be used to identify genomic regions associated with tolerance. The biparental population will be genotyped by GBS and a linkage map constructed. We will phenotype the RIL population both in the vegetative and reproductive phases, with data on growth, yield and its components, tissue ion concentrations (Na+, Cl- and K+) and organic solutes and tissue water relations. On selected lines we will also analyse more deeply some processes, such as ion locations in vegetative and reproductive tissues (using x-ray microanalysis) and sugar status (including collaboration with Theme 2a). Identified QTL regions will be fine mapped and underlying genes identified through access to recently updated assemblies of the chickpea reference genome. Allelic variation at the identified loci will also be assessed in current varieties, guiding the implementation of useful variation in breeding.

Genomic regions of importance identified, QTL and molecular markers developed, improved knowledge of the physiology and genetics of salinity tolerance, and best materials available to breeders.

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