Project Details

Identification of superior alleles and lines from wild Cajanus species for pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) improvement

Duration: 01/Jul/2015 - 30/Jun/2018

Locations: Eastern and Southern Africa / Kenya

Project contact: Dr Damaris A Odeny (

Donor: Foundation or Trust

CGIAR Research Program: Grain Legumes,Dryland Cereals

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana, L. Gaertn) is an important traditional food crop in East Africa belonging to Poaceae family, Chloridoideae sub-family. Productivity of finger millet in East Africa is very low at about 1.3 t/ha in comparison to its potential of over 10 t/ha. Wild finger millet relatives, abundant in Eastern Africa, can be utilized to improve overall productivity as they are generally more diverse and have responded to a wide range of evolutionary forces over time. This proposal outlines a pre-breeding program for subsequent introgression of adaptive traits (tolerance to drought, resistance to blast disease and Striga) and superior nutritional quality from wild finger millet accessions into elite and farmer-preferred finger millet varieties. A collection of wild finger millet accessions already available at ICRISAT-Nairobi and Maseno University will be screened at both morphological and molecular level. Morphological characterization will be done under drought, blast disease and Striga conditions at ICRISAT, Maseno University and KALRO-Kisii stations after which promising lines will be further analysed for nutritional quality. Molecular analysis will involve genotyping-by-sequencing and/or bulk segregant sequencing to identify molecular markers and/or candidate genes contributing to observed traits. Identified molecular markers and/or candidate genes will be further validated in bi-parental populations and eventually used to facilitate introgression of desirable traits into farmer-preferred varieties.

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