Genetic Resources of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) and Their Utilization

  • Deepak OhriEmail author
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 10)


Chickpea is a prominent grain legume crop providing cheap source of protein to the humankind. It originated in the Near East from the progenitor species Cicer reticulatum having a narrow distribution and genetic base. Moreover, during the course of domestication chickpea experienced various bottlenecks resulting in still narrow genetic variation in its two major forms ‘Kabuli’ and ‘Desi’. Further genetic improvement would therefore depend on the exploration and introduction of useful genes from its wild relatives. The genus Cicer has 49 taxa including nine annual species. The genetic relationships among these and with the cultigen have been analyzed and elaborated by diverse methods including morphology, seed proteins, isozymes, karyotypes, FISH and various DNA markers. All these studies have resulted in demarcating primary, secondary and tertiary gene pools and show a very close relationship of the cultigen with two annual species C. reticulatum and C. echinospermum besides some perennial species. However, direct transfer of genes by hybridization has proved to be nearly impossible as the cultigen shows very poor or no crossability with any of the wild species except the progenitor species. This problem is being addressed by QTL mapping of mostly disease resistance loci from the RIL’s produced from intra as well as interspecific crosses. Further efforts are being made to integrate genetic maps with physical maps. These methods provide a strong basis for genetic and genomic analysis of chickpea genome and facilitate further the use of molecular methods in breeding.


Cicer arietinum Origin Domestication Interspecific relationships Molecular maps 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amity University Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow Campus)LucknowIndia

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