Finger Millet Improvement in Post-genomic Era: Hundred Years of Breeding and Moving Forward

Joshi, P and Gupta, S K and Ojulong, H and Sharma, R and Vetriventhan, M and Kudapa, H and Choudhary, S and Naresh, D and Kholova, J and Sajja, S (2023) Finger Millet Improvement in Post-genomic Era: Hundred Years of Breeding and Moving Forward. In: Smart Plant Breeding for Field Crops in Post-genomics Era. Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd., Singapore, pp. 221-253. ISBN 978-981-19-8218-7

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Finger millet, grown on about 5 Mha globally under semi-arid environments of East Africa and South Asia, serves as an important dual-purpose crop to address food, forage, and nutritional needs in these marginal regions. Despite the tremendous yield potential, the area cultivated for small millets, including finger millet, decreased by 25.7% globally between 1961 and 2018. Finger millet improvement program began in 1913 in India; however, concentrated efforts to realize genetic gains in this climate-resilient crop are yet to be deployed compared to the efforts invested in improving other major cereals. This has resulted in lower productivity of finger millet in farmer’s fields than its potential yield even after more than 100 years of breeding. However, significant genetic variability is available for traits of importance. The breeding programs in Asia and Africa have refined the hybridization techniques and breeding objectives as per local needs. ICRISAT, an international center with finger millet as one of its mandate crops, is engaged with partners to generate new germplasm to enhance the productivity of this crop in marginal regions. This program, based in India and Kenya, has developed and distributed germplasm and breeding lines globally in the last few decades. Many promising and widely adapted cultivars have been released and adopted in many countries. Hybridization between the Indian and African gene pools of finger millet in the 1990s brought a paradigm shift in finger millet production in India. Now, breeding pipelines have been strengthened with the identification of newly identified germplasm for traits of importance, especially for blast resistance. Recently, finger millet genome sequencing was accomplished, and with the availability of advanced phenotyping protocols for various traits of importance, it has opened new opportunities to enhance genetic gains in this crop. This chapter informs about historical breeding efforts and discusses the prospects and challenges of finger millet breeding to enhance breeding efficiency and genetic gains in finger millet. International collaborative efforts toward improving agronomic traits, value addition, and the trade value of finger millet would help marginal farmers of southeast Asia and Africa but will also help enhance the commercial value of this underutilized millet.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions: Global Research Program - Accelerated Crop Improvement
Research Program : Asia
Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crossing, Speedbreeding, High-throughput phenotyping, Trait discovery and mapping, Genomics
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets > Finger Millet
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Depositing User: Mr Nagaraju T
Date Deposited: 19 May 2023 10:23
Last Modified: 19 May 2023 10:23
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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