Genomics, trait discovery and molecular breeding

A new green revolution is crucial if the world’s growing population is to be fed. Genomics provides breeders with new tools and techniques to study the whole genome of plants. By studying the genotype and its relationship with the phenotype, more efficient cultivars can be developed that have the greatest potential to increase yield.

Chickpea- Glasshouse screening



  • Developed improved chickpea lines with enhanced tolerance to drought, resistance to Fusarium wilt and Ascochyta blight
  • Developed groundnut lines with enhanced resistance to rust and improved oil quality
  • Improved lines have been provided to national programs.
  • Breeding programs using genes/genomic segments/QTLs associated with priority traits such as biotic/abiotic stress tolerance, yield, etc.


  •  Decoded genomes of three legumes (chickpea, groundnut and pigeonpea) and two cereals (sorghum and pearl millet) have provided not only vast information on genome architecture and organization but also on genes/genomic regions controlling priority traits in these important crops of smallholder farmers in the semi-arid tropics 
  • Deploying genomics-assisted breeding could strengthen the crop improvement pipeline by increasing the efficiency and speed of precision breeding in all the ICRISAT mandate crops.


  •  Genomes of three legumes (chickpea, groundnut and pigeonpea) and two cereals (pearl millet and sorghum) sequenced
  • Co-led sequencing and analysis of AA genome and contributed to sequencing genomes of both diploid ancestors of groundnut
  • Assembled draft genomes of pearl millet and finger millet
  • 300 genomes each of pigeonpea and chickpea resequenced
  • High density (50K) SNP genotyping arrays developed for chickpea, groundnut and pigeonpea
  •  High throughput genotyping project: Low-cost genotyping services (covering 12 crops) at US $ 1.50 per sample with 10 marker assay
  • Genomic Open Source Breeding Informatics Initiative (GOBII): Released the first version of the database with chickpea and sorghum genomic datasets.
  •  Leading the 3000 Chickpea Genome Sequencing Initiative
  • Generated double QTL introgression lines for downy mildew resistance and high grain Fe and Zn density in pearl millet, improved groundnut lines with good oil quality and shoot fly resistance lines in sorghum.
  •  Generated advanced backcross populations in chickpea with enhanced botrytis gray mold and dry root rot resistance; in pigeonpea with pod borer resistance; in groundnut with late leaf spot and rust resistance; and in pearl millet with heat and drought tolerance.
  • Many molecular breeding lines have been promoted to in vitro transcription (IVT)/ Multi Locational Trials (MLT) in India for possible release of varieties.
  • Identified introgression lines with high yield and early maturity in pigeonpea; shared with ICRISAT breeders and NARS partners for multi-location evaluation.

For more information: (Plant Science 242: 98-107, article/pii/S0168945215300662)

For more information, read story

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