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Functional ideotypes for increasing and stabilizing chickpea yield

N.P. Saxena and C. Johansen

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Patancheru P.O., Andhra Pradesh 502 324, India

We propose that an ideotype approach can enhance genetic improvement efforts in chickpea by focusing attention on the traits that need to be modified to overcome specific yield constraints. Although ideotypes are usually described only in terms of above-ground morphological traits, we consider that process-based traits, such as responsiveness to temperature, should also be included in ideotypic descriptions. As relative importance of abiotic contraints to chickpea varies markedly between cropping environments, we suggest that it is necessary to specify separate ideotypes for different, pre-defined target environments. A summary of our proposals for trait improvement, given in the table below, is based on our experience in South Asia, the major chickpea growing region of the world, but we suggest that these concepts would have wider applicability. We have experimentally shown the utility of, and identified genetic variability for, many of the traits listed. Some of these improved characters are currently being bred into acceptable agronomic backgrounds.

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