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Biotechnol Adv. 2013 Dec;31(8):1120-34. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2013.01.001. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Achievements and prospects of genomics-assisted breeding in three legume crops of the semi-arid tropics.

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International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad 502324, India; CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme (GCP), c/o CIMMYT, DF 06600, Mexico; The University of Western Australia, Crawley 6009, Australia; Crops Research Institute, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS), Guangzhou 510640, China. Electronic address:


Advances in next-generation sequencing and genotyping technologies have enabled generation of large-scale genomic resources such as molecular markers, transcript reads and BAC-end sequences (BESs) in chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut, three major legume crops of the semi-arid tropics. Comprehensive transcriptome assemblies and genome sequences have either been developed or underway in these crops. Based on these resources, dense genetic maps, QTL maps as well as physical maps for these legume species have also been developed. As a result, these crops have graduated from 'orphan' or 'less-studied' crops to 'genomic resources rich' crops. This article summarizes the above-mentioned advances in genomics and genomics-assisted breeding applications in the form of marker-assisted selection (MAS) for hybrid purity assessment in pigeonpea; marker-assisted backcrossing (MABC) for introgressing QTL region for drought-tolerance related traits, Fusarium wilt (FW) resistance and Ascochyta blight (AB) resistance in chickpea; late leaf spot (LLS), leaf rust and nematode resistance in groundnut. We critically present the case of use of other modern breeding approaches like marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) and genomic selection (GS) to utilize the full potential of genomics-assisted breeding for developing superior cultivars with enhanced tolerance to various environmental stresses. In addition, this article recommends the use of advanced-backcross (AB-backcross) breeding and development of specialized populations such as multi-parents advanced generation intercross (MAGIC) for creating new variations that will help in developing superior lines with broadened genetic base. In summary, we propose the use of integrated genomics and breeding approach in these legume crops to enhance crop productivity in marginal environments ensuring food security in developing countries.


Genetic maps; Genomic selection; Molecular breeding; Molecular markers; Transcriptome

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