A global study has identified genes that can be used to develop drought- and heat-tolerant chickpeas, leading to hopes of higher chickpea yields even in dry conditions.
Led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and involving scientists from The University of Western Australia, the research found three genes that can help crops tolerate temperatures up to 38°C.
Chickpeas are the third most commonly produced grain legume, however drought and increasing temperatures are estimated to cause the loss of more than 70 per cent of global chickpea yields.
Professor Kadambot Siddique from UWA’s Institute of Agriculture said the research had important applications for agriculture and the future of the planet.
‘‘This is a significant breakthrough,’’ he said.
‘‘Achieving food security and sustainability for the future is highly important and the results of this study will help Australian and global chickpea breeders develop climate-ready chickpea varieties with improved yield, drought and heat stress tolerance.’’
The study, Resequencing of 429 chickpea accessions from 45 countries provides insights into genome diversity, domestication and agronomic traits, has been published online in Nature Genetics.