In a significant breakthrough, a global team of 19 scientists from 9 institutes have re-sequenced the genome or DNA of 292 pigeonpea varieties (Cajanus cajan) and discovered new traits such as resistance to various diseases that affect the crop and its insensitivity to photo-period (the duration of daylight hours required for reaching maturity). The research also traces the likely origin of the domesticated pigeonpea to Madhya Pradesh in central India. These discoveries have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics (doi:10.1038/ng.3872) today.
This breakthrough will lead to the development of superior varieties of this important pulse crop which can enable higher production and profits for smallholder farmers, better market value and bring it within an affordable price range for the consumer, especially the poor. Pigeonpea is a major source of protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins and resistant starch. It is important for ensuring nutritional security for millions in the developing world. However, the crop yield has remained stagnant over the last six decades, with limited genetic diversity and genome information, which is required for the development of superior varieties. Read more