Integrated gene resource management of underutilized legumes in India

Abstract

The Indian gene centre possesses a rich legume biodiversity––1,152 species comprising cultivated, underutilized edible and forage legumes. Majority of the underutilized food legumes are widely distributed as wild species in various agro-ecological regions of peninsular India. Indian legume species (62%) contribute to the food and health security of ethnic communities. A total of 66,546 accessions of legume gene resources including underutilized species are conserved in the National Gene Bank. Collection, characterization and conservation efforts regarding the diversity of these beans are described. The importance of genetic variation in legumes and their wild relatives as a source of desirable resistance to pests and diseases in a changing climate scenario is discussed. Information on legumes used in Indian and modern systems of medicine and ethno-botany as well as the scope for bio-prospecting are presented. Advanced biotechnological applications in legume research for sustainable utilization of these resources are highlighted. An integrated gene resource management strategy to combat malnutrition, identify gene resources for legume improvement and enhance their value as traditional food and medicine is described.

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Correspondence to N. Sivaraj.

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Varaprasad, K.S., Sharma, S.K., Sivaraj, N. et al. Integrated gene resource management of underutilized legumes in India. Euphytica 180, 49 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-011-0450-x

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Keywords

  • Genetic resources
  • Legumes
  • Conservation
  • Germplasm
  • Evaluation