Title : Breeding climate smart pulses
It is estimated that the planet’s demand for food and feed crops will almost double by 2050. Globally, rainfed agriculture is practised in 80% of the total agricultural area and generates 62% of the world’s staple food. Farmers are advised to use climate-resilient crops and crop types as a means of coping with or adapting to climate change. As the primary source of protein and minerals for vegetarians, pulses are typically grown on marginal land with minimal inputs in a number of resource-poor nations around the world. They are subjected to a variety of abiotic and biotic challenges as a result of their growing in resource-limited circumstances, which results in severe production losses. Germplasm, genotyping and phenotyping, combined with a clear definition of product targets, are the foundation of a successful crop breeding programme on long term basis. Breeding crop genotypes with superior yield for the climatically challenging regions of the region involves integration of multiple drought-specific technologies together with all of the other technology components that comprise a successful crop breeding programme. Drought has major implications for regional crop production because of the expected effects of gradual climate change happening since last decade observed with respect to erratic rainfall distribution pattern during major part of crop life cycle. Germplasm of diverse nature serves as a base for devising any drought oriented breeding programme. Characterization of genetic diversity for drought resistance and identification of novel germplasm is the first step for conventional breeding, genomics-assisted plant breeding and functional analysis of the genes involved in various pathways associated drought stress responses. Although final yield returns under drought stress is the primary trait for measurement of drought resistance in many crops, secondary traits may be particularly suited to improving selection response to stress conditions. Desirable screening methods based on secondary traits should be established to effectively trace out target phenomes in quickest possible time. Selection for improved performance under drought based on grain yield alone has often been considered inefficient, but the use of secondary traits of adaptive value whose genetic variability increases under drought can increase selection efficiency. Root screening has proved to be effective tool in culling out poor genotypes with respect to drought. Highest positive correlation was observed between root biomass and yield of inbred lines or purelines in artificially controlled conditions. The similar trend was also observed in field trials indicating relevance of root architecture with yield performance under drought stress. The positive inbreds and purelines for the drought trait also performed excellently in single cross combinations across multi environmental rainfed situations.
Key words: Pulses, Drought, Resilience