Genetic and genomic resources, and breeding for accelerating improvement of small millets: current status and future interventions

Vetriventhan, M and Azevedo, V C R and Upadhyaya, H D and Nirmalakumari, A and Kane-Potaka, J and Anitha, S and Ceasar, S A and Muthamilarasan, M and Bhat, B V and Hariprasanna, K and Bellundagi, A and Cheruku, D and Backiyalakshmi, C and Santra, D and Vanniarajan, C and Tonapi, V A (2020) Genetic and genomic resources, and breeding for accelerating improvement of small millets: current status and future interventions. The Nucleus (TSI). ISSN 0029-568X

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (2MB)


Current agricultural and food systems encourage research and development on major crops, neglecting regionally important minor crops. Small millets include a group of small- seeded cereal crops of the grass family Poaceae. This includes finger millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet, little millet, teff, fonio, job’s tears, guinea millet, and browntop millet. Small millets are an excellent choice to supplement major staple foods for crop and dietary diversity because of their diverse adaptation on marginal lands, less water requirement, lesser susceptibility to stresses, and nutritional superiority compared to major cereal staples. Growing interest among consumers about healthy diets together with climate-resilient features of small millets underline the necessity of directing more research and development towards these crops. Except for finger millet and foxtail millet, and to some extent proso millet and teff, other small millets have received minimal research attention in terms of development of genetic and genomic resources and breeding for yield enhancement. Considerable breeding efforts were made in finger millet and foxtail millet in India and China, respectively, proso millet in the United States of America, and teff in Ethiopia. So far, five genomes, namely foxtail millet, finger millet, proso millet, teff, and Japanese barnyard millet, have been sequenced, and genome of foxtail millet is the smallest (423-510 Mb) while the largest one is finger millet (1.5 Gb). Recent advances in phenotyping and genomics technologies, together with available germplasm diversity, could be utilized in small millets improvement. This review provides a comprehensive insight into the importance of small millets, the global status of their germplasm, diversity, promising germplasm resources, and breeding approaches (conventional and genomic approaches) to accelerate climate-resilient and nutrient-dense small millets for sustainable agriculture, environment, and healthy food systems.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Genetic Gains
Uncontrolled Keywords: Small millets, Climate-resilience, Genomics, Breeding, Germplasm, Underutilized crops
Subjects: Others > Plant Breeding
Mandate crops > Millets > Finger Millet
Mandate crops > Millets > Foxtail Millet
Others > Climate Resilient Technologies
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Others > Food and Nutrition
Others > Germplasm
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2020 12:10
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2020 12:10
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
View Statistics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item