Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gartn.) Breeding

  • Neelofar MirzaEmail author
  • Soma S. Marla


Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.) is a minor millet grown in the arid and semiarid tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. It is cultivated for food, as well as fodder and medicinal purposes. The genus Eleusine includes eight species of diploid and tetraploid annual and perennial herbs. The cultivated species also have several races and subraces and hence, finger millet displays great variability and diversity for most agronomically- important traits. It is a hardy crop which can withstand abiotic stress such as water scarcity and cold temperatures. Several genotypes are blast resistant and nutritionally rich especially in minerals and essential amino acids. Therefore, studying the germplasm diversity and selection of superior genotypes are prerequisites for a successful breeding program for crop improvement. The advent of tissue culture techniques, genomics and transcriptomics will further facilitate the study of genetic diversity. Increasing the finger millet production will help attain food and nutritional security especially for poor countries. Although the Green Revolution has transformed agriculture sector, the shift from traditional to modern production systems has led to the displacement of traditional landraces and genetic erosion of many crop species. It is thus vital to preserve the germplasm for the conservation of genetic diversity. The present chapter reviews the finger millet species, present diversity and recent breeding programs to improve the crop. The chapter also discusses the measures taken for genetic conservation of the species.


Blast resistant Eleusine Finger millet Genomic resources Improved varieties Interspecific breeding 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Council of Agricultural Research, National Bureau of Plant Genetic ResourcesNew DelhiIndia

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