DBT approves Chickpea Project

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India has approved a network project on chickpea called Deployment of molecular markers in chickpea breeding for developing superior cultivars with enhanced disease resistance, in response to their first call under the Grand Challenge Program.

ICRISAT is the lead institute for undertaking this project with Rajeev Varshney as Coordinator and Principal Investigator (PI). In addition to Varshney, Pooran Gaur, C Sivakumar, Suresh Pande, Mamta Sharma and Abhishek Rathore are co-PIs in this project.

Funding of Rs 318.42 lakhs (US$ 686,000) has been granted, of which ICRISAT’s share will be Rs 158.45 lakhs. This 5-year project has several collaborating partners: Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Jabalpur; Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur; Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Ahmednagar; and University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad.

The project will initiate molecular breeding activities with the objective of developing superior lines of chickpea with enhanced resistance to fusarium wilt (FW) and ascochyta blight (AB). Eventually this will help raise chickpea production in India. Moreover, it will also establish the chickpea molecular breeding community of practice in India.

Several impacts are expected to emerge from this project, including introgressed chickpea lines with enhanced resistance to FW and AB; validated molecular markers associated with resistance to FW and AB for their deployment in chickpea breeding programs in India; proof-of-concept of molecular breeding in a pulse crop in India; as well as a number of conventional chickpea breeders trained in molecular breeding.

Congratulations to Rajeev Varshney and the entire network team that worked on actualizing this project.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings

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