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Crop Biotech Update

Chickpea to Get Nutrition Boost from Hardy and Weedy Wild Relatives

March 31, 2021

A study conducted by researchers from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India has looked into the possibility of boosting the nutrient content of the popular legume chickpea by crossing it with its hardy and weedy wild relatives.

The researchers from ICRISAT and the Crop Trust's Crop Wild Relatives Project (CWR Project) studied the seed protein and mineral concentrations in wild chickpeas that belong to the genus Cicer. The ICRISAT team examined eight wild Cicer species from seven countries and compared their nutrient content to that of cultivated chickpea. They found enormous genetic variability among wild relatives and identified several plants that could be useful in chickpea breeding programs.

Two wild types from Turkey, C. reticulatum and C. echinospermum impressed researchers with their protein, iron, zinc, and calcium content. Both of these species are easily crossable with chickpea and can be used to develop improved varieties.

For more details, read the article on the Crop Trust website.

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