Scientists have successfully completed the draft genome sequence of chickpeas (Cicer arietinum), reported in an article published today in Nature Biotechnology. The study also describes the genome sequence of 90 cultivated and wild chickpea genotypes from ten countries. This is a veritable treasure trove of genomic resources, and paves the path for modern breeding to improve this important food crop – a great boost for chickpea farmers in the developing world.
Dr Rajeev K Varshney, GCP’s Comparative and Applied Genomics Theme Leader, led an international group of about 10 scientists who have been working on the project since July 2010. Dr Varshney is coordinator of the International Chickpea Genome Sequencing Consortium (ICGSC) and Director of the Center of Excellence in Genomics at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The sequencing project was partially funded by GCP.
The Nature Biotechnology article announcing the news is published for open access and is downloadable below in pdf format. Details on the project and its likely impact are available in this GCP Media Release.