Science

Scientists develop new drought tolerant chickpea variety

Sunderarajan Padmanabhan New Delhi | Updated on March 30, 2020 Published on March 30, 2020

 

Chickpea is a major source of protein for the people in India. It is grown mainly in semi-arid regions during the post-monsoon season and face drought during flowering leading to huge drops in yield. There is a serious need to develop high-yielding chickpea varieties that can tolerate periodic water-deficit conditions and possess higher seed mineral content for nutritional benefit.

A group of scientists from Department of Biotechnology’s New Delhi-based National Institute of Plant Genome Research, University of Hyderabad and Indian Institute of Pulses Research has raised a genetically modified chickpea variety that shows high drought tolerance and high iron and zinc content in seeds by reducing the level of a plant growth substance called cytokinin in the root.

Two major plant hormones auxin and cytokinin regulate root development. The researchers expressed a gene for an enzyme called cytokinin oxidase 6 (CKX6) that degrades cytokinin under a root-specific promoter (P WRKY31 ) in chickpea. The gene and the promoter were from chickpea itself.

The study showed that reduction in cytokinin level resulted in increased root length and branching enabling the plant to acquire water and nutrient from deep in the soil during drought.

As the plants were able to acquire more resources from soil, they lived longer and produced more seeds. The genetically modified chickpea lines also showed high iron and zinc in seeds due to low root cytokinin and longer and highly branched roots.

The scientists noted that the study has shown that enhancing the root network by local manipulation of cytokinin level might be an effective approach along with conventional breeding to alleviate yield loss in chickpea and other indeterminate legume crops during drought. The researchers have published a report on their finding in Plant Biotechnology Journal. (India Science Wire)

 

Twitter handle: @ndpsr

 

Published on March 30, 2020

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.