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Crop Biotech Update

Transgenic Chickpeas Exhibit Drought Tolerance, Increased Seed Yield Under Extremely Dry Condition

January 13, 2021

Researchers from India developed a line of transgenic chickpea found to be more tolerable to drought with increased seed yield trait. In the long run, the transgenic chickpea can contribute to the decrease of annual chickpea yield and production loss that is commonly attributed to drought.

The researchers developed transgenic chickpea lines that harbor the transcription factor Dehydration Responsive Element-Binding (DREB) protein 1A from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtDREB1a gene), with the objective of enhancing drought tolerance in the crop. DREBs are known to be important plant factors that regulate stress-induced gene expression and play a role in stress tolerance against abiotic factors.

The GM chickpeas were found to exhibit higher relative water content, longer chlorophyll retention capacity, and higher osmotic adjustment under extreme drought condition levels as compared to the non-transgenic controls. The chickpeas were also found to have yielded more seeds with a progressive increase in water stress.

The researchers concluded that the transgenic chickpea event would be valuable for breeding in varietal development programs for enhanced drought tolerance under parched conditions.

Read the open-access article in BMC Plant Biology.

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