Prospects for using conventional techniques and molecular biological tools to enhance performance of `orphan' crop plants on soils low in available phosphorus

Hash, C T and Schaffert, R E and Peacock, J M (2002) Prospects for using conventional techniques and molecular biological tools to enhance performance of `orphan' crop plants on soils low in available phosphorus. Plant and Soil, 245 (1). pp. 135-146. ISSN 1573-5036

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Molecular biology, combined with Mendelian and quantitative genetics in quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and marker-assisted selection (MAS), provides powerful new tools to facilitate efficient genetic manipulation by plant breeders of complex traits such as drought tolerance and phosphorus (P) acquisition ability. This paper examines current opportunities for genetically manipulating the ability of crop plants to more efficiently acquire (i.e. access and take up) essential soil nutrients, using as examples P and several of the crops in the genetic improvement mandate of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) – chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.), pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.], pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan(L.) Millsp.], and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench]. It is concluded that for at least some of these important, but often academically and economically orphaned tropical food, forage and feed-grain crops, the genetic variation and molecular tools that we will need already exist or can be expected to become available in the very near future. With appropriate, targeted research, these tools can permit empirical exploration of the potential for marker-facilitated mapping and manipulation of major genes that can contribute to enhanced ability of these crops to acquire P from sources with limited availability. With these tools, delivery of new versions of currently popular high-yielding, high quality, disease resistant crop cultivars, having genetically improved ability to acquire P currently in soils but unavailable for crop growth, could take as little as five to seven years. Sustainable use of such improved cultivars would require their utilization as components of integrated soil fertility management systems.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: chickpea, groundnut, marker-assisted selection, pearl millet phosphorus acquisition, pigeonpea, roots, sorghum
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Mandate crops > Chickpea
Mandate crops > Pigeonpea
Mandate crops > Groundnut
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2011 12:29
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2011 12:29
Official URL:
Funders: Department for International Development-PSP-ICRISAT
Acknowledgement: This review was supported, in part, by a research grant to ICRISAT from the Plant Sciences Research Programme of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID-PSP). The opinions presented are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of DFID, Embrapa, ICARDA or ICRISAT.
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