• C. Toker
  • B. Uzun
  • F. O. Ceylan
  • C. Ikten


Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), the only cultivated species in the genus Cicer L., with 2n = 16 chromosomes, is individually the most important pulse crop of the world and contributes significantly to the total food legume production. On the basis of plant type, pigmentation, flower and seed size and color, it is divided into two groups, desi and kabuli, both used in different culinary preparations as well as processed food products, thereby contributing as an important protein source in predominantly vegetarian diets. Tremendous efforts have already been put for the genetic improvement of chickpeas for yield, resistance to various stresses, and quality traits. However, unfortunately the selection process for improved yield and quality characteristics during domestication has resulted in a narrowing of the genetic variation of the cultivated chickpea. Not only do wild Cicer species consist of useful variation for morphological characteristics and protein content, but they also possess sources of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Owing to these properties, breeders have tried to utilize these resources for transfer of desirable alleles from them into the cultivated species, mainly based on the information on gene pool concept. Nevertheless, success with distant hybridization has been variable and most of the successful crosses have been attempted only between the cultivated chickpea and the annual wild species of the primary and secondary gene pool while hybridization between the cultivated chickpea and perennial wild Cicer species has not been successful. Of late, genetic transformation and marker assisted breeding have also started yielding some results in alien gene transfer. This chapter reviews the sources for resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses in different Cicer species and also summarizes achievements and impacts of the introgression of alien genes from these wild species to the cultivated chickpea mainly via intraspecific hybridization.


Cicer arietinum C. echinospermum C. reticulatum • Drought Genetic transformation Molecular markers 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Field Crops, Faculty of AgricultureAkdeniz UniversityAntalyaTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of AgricultureAkdeniz UniversityAntalyaTurkey

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