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Crop Biotech Update

Genome Sequence of Pigeonpea, an Orphan Legume Crop decoded

November 11, 2011

A scientific breakthrough published in the 6th November online issue of Nature Biotechnology marks a major milestone in agricultural research for development. The mapping of the pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) genome by a team of international reseachers led by the International Crops Research for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)'s Rajeev Varshney, together with BGI-Shenzhen (China) and several other partners will have a significant impact on the lives of the poor across the globe.

This is the first time that a subsistence and non-industrial crop has received this level of expert attention. The previously neglected pigeonpea has been at the center of a large international collaboration that has cracked its genome code.

This is also the first time that any CGIAR center has led the genome sequencing of a major food crop. A world premiere that will lead to more disease and drought resistant varieties in coming years, boosting harvests for smallholder farmers who are the ones that grow this crop.

More details on this work is available at http://www.icrisat.org/newsroom/news-releases/icrisat-pr-2011-media20.htm and the research paper can be found at Nature Biotechnology http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nbt.2022.html. Please contact: Rajeev Varshney (r.k.varshney@cgiar.org) to know more details about this breakthrough.