Biotech Updates

Promising Results for Breeding Drought-Resistant Cowpea

February 4, 2011

Cowpea or black-eyed pea has been a source of protein for humans and livestock. The plant can be easily cultured because it is a nitrogen fixer, hence it doesn't need much fertilizer and is resistant to many diseases. Its crude protein which can be up to 30 percent in improved varieties make it an important substitute for animal meat protein during times of high food price and economic crisis.

With problems on climate change and agriculture planting patterns, cowpea can be bred to be resistant to drought and high temperatures. Researchers at Texas AgriLife Research are breeding cowpea with these traits in mind and already found one major gene for drought tolerance. Other traits which they hope to improve using germplasm from different sources include short duration and pest resistance.

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