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2022 Speakers

Prebreeding and germplasm enhancement in chickpea: A way forward for pulse sustainability

Chellapilla Bharadwaj

Chellapilla Bharadwaj, Speaker at Plant Science Congress - 2922
ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India
Title : Prebreeding and germplasm enhancement in chickpea: A way forward for pulse sustainability


Precise phenotyping and expensive phenotyping platforms have been a bottleneck for chickpea improvement, recent advances in genomics technologies and the availability of ample genotyping platforms have made the cost of genotyping much cheaper in comparison to phenotyping. With the advent of FIGS approach, development of TILLING population and identification of putative candidate genes for various stresses both biotic and abiotic, prebreeding and germplasm enhancement through targeted introgression of genomic regions from wild species and landraces appears a way out for base broadening and improvement of pulse crops. QTLs from donor ICC 4958 has led to development of drought tolerant introgression lines BGM 10216, 10218, BG 3097, BG 4005 into AICRP programme. These lines are carrying the drought QTL on LG4 and are showing better yield (ranging from 10-12 %) over the recurrent parent. Wilt QTLs on LG 2, from the donor WR 315 have been introgressed into the lines BGM 20211, 20212 which have proved their superiority and were released as WRIL variety Pusa Chickpea Manav.  Genomic selection by way of development of training population and model fitting has been done in chickpea for yield improvement. Thus, the recent developments in sequencing technologies, saturated genetic maps, QTL maps as well as sequencing are greatly helping in using marker assisted technologies to be applied in pre breeding and germplasm enhancement of pulse crops. Genomics-assisted breeding for marker-assisted backcrossing (MABC) for introgressing QTL region, marker assisted recurrent selection, gene pyramiding, marker-assisted selection (MAS) and genomic selection are now underway routinely for pulse crop improvement.
Audience Take Away:

  • Pre breeding, Genomic selection for crop improvement?
  • Modern molecular techniques can be used for crop improvement?
  • Yes, this research that other faculty could use to expand their both research and/or teaching.
  • This technology has already been applied for developing improved chickpea cultivars
  • It leads to precision breeding.


Dr C. Bharadwaj  has 23 years of Scientific Experience in breeding legumes and pulses. As a breeder par excellence, he is focused on marginal and sub marginal chickpea farmers to increases their livelihood through developing fifteen chickpea varieties having climate resilience. He has lead or leading several multi-disciplinary and multi-national  grants/projects during last 10 years. He is the Principal investigator for the prestigious US $ 8 million ICAR-Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation project on “Application of next generation breeding, genotyping and digitalization approaches for improving the genetic gain in Indian staple crops” . He leads several other projects in collaboration with ICRISAT, ICARDA, UWA Perth, and University of Saskatoon, GCP, CIMMYT and the sort. He is also the ICRISAT Steering Team Member for GOBII programme.  He is elected Fellow of Indian Society of Pulses Research and Development, Kanpur, India and has been its serving Councilor for North West Zone for two terms and Fellow of Indian Society Genetics and Plant Breeding, New Delhi India. He has published more than 140 papers in peer review journals with a i10 index of 40 and research gate score of 34.51

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