Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L. Millsp.): An Ideal Crop for Sustainable Agriculture

  • Rachit K. SaxenaEmail author
  • K. B. Saxena
  • Rajeev K. Varshney


Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] is traditionally cultivated as an annual crop in semi-arid regions of the world. It has a number of characteristics such as diverse maturity time, drought tolerance and natural out-crossing which makes it unique among legumes. These traits not only allow its cultivation in diverse environments and cropping systems, but also permit implementation of different breeding methods. Pigeonpea is a crop of sustainable agriculture and poor crop management, exposure to diseases and pests coupled with unpredictable rains hinder crop improvement activities. However, recently partial out-crossing has been exploited to develop cytoplasmic male-sterility (CMS) based hybrid breeding technology. Thus far, three hybrids have been released for cultivation with yield advantages of 30–50% over standard varieties. Pigeonpea R&D now also enjoys a wealth of genomics resources such as a draft genome sequence, resequencing data, candidate genes and markers associated with key traits. Genomics and breeding efforts are underway to make pigeonpea a more sustainable crop and to unlock the genetic diversity present in germplasm to develop new cultivars rapidly.


Breeding Crop improvement Genomics Next generation sequencing Pigeonpea 



Authors are thankful to the partner institutions and researchers who have contributed to pigeonpea research. For funding, the authors would like to thank CGIAR’s Generation Challenge Program; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India; Biotechnology Industry Partnership Program (BIPP); Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India. The work reported in this article was undertaken as a part of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals. ICRISAT is a member of the CGIAR.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachit K. Saxena
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. B. Saxena
    • 1
  • Rajeev K. Varshney
    • 1
  1. 1.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid TropicsPatancheruIndia

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