NIAB - National Institute of Agricultural Botany

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Pulse Crop Genetic Improvement Network

Contact : Jane Thomas

Pulse crops are an efficient source of plant-derived protein that which require minimal inputs and act as an effective rotational break. However, legume crops are currently under-represented in the UK and throughout Europe and yet are essential to sustainability in agriculture. There are many reasons why uptake of pulses is limited. Lodging and flowering time remain important components of plant architecture that continue to constrain the UK pea crop. Yield potential is not the major factor limiting the exploitation of this crop; rather farmers' confidence is undermined by the potential for pre-harvest loss, typically from bird damage or lodging and disease. The situation with beans is quite different, in that fewer pre-harvest problems exist; lodging (standing ability) is not a major problem but sensitivity to drought is much greater than for pea, with the latter possessing a good degree of tolerance. Where pulse crops are more frequent components of rotations, disease control problems can inhibit their more intensive use.

The major components of the PC GIN project are:

1. Phenotyping
2. Performance
3. Reverse Genetics
4. Genetic Mapping
5. Seed Quality

NIAB's input is focused on phenoyping of exotic Pisum and Vicia faba germplasm, and on identifying sources of stable resistance to downy mildew (Peronospora viciae) in peas. Project website www.pcgin.org

Funding: Defra

Collaborating Organizations: John Innes Centre and PGRO