Breeding of Amaranths

  • Saubhik Das


Breeding mechanism in amaranths is highly variable due to variability and versatility of inflorescence ratio and distribution of male and female flower in inflorescence and variability of matting system ranging from obligate out-crossing, relatively greater outcrossing to relatively greater self-pollination. Several useful breeding traits have been identified in amaranths like, increased seed protein, resistance to seed shattering, increased seed size, reduced plant height and high yield, improved pest resistance etc. The work on genetic improvement has been done so far mostly applying conventional selection method from cultivars, landraces, hybrids with genetic variability. Several new improved varieties have been developed. Hybrids between grain and weed amaranths have been produced to address all major breeding objectives including biomass heterosis, transfer of herbicide resistance and non-dehiscence properties. Male sterility identified in certain grain species (A. hypochondriacus) could be very handy to simplify the hybridization process. Beside conventional breeding methods, application of non-conventional breeding strategies like induced mutation breeding techniques, genetic engineering and biotechnological approaches are gaining importance. Genetic variability created in useful trait by induced mutation followed by selection has become a routine practice in amaranth breeding. Few mutant varieties of amaranth have been established and released officially like – Centenario in Peru, New Asutake in Japan, and Sterk in Russia. Technological innovation in plant biotechnology is an important catalyst in crop improvement. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation technique has been standerdized in amaranth which has opened up a new avenue to transfer useful gene like – Oxalate decarboxylase gene to reduce the level of oxalic acid in vegetable amaranth which is a known antinutrient. Storage seed albumin protein AmA1 has been characterized from A. hypochondriacus and the protein gene has been successfully cloned and transferred to potato showing a tuber specific expression. Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) and molecular breeding has helped to generate knowledge regarding transfer of simply inherited quantitative traits from genetic resources into elite cultivars also to understand the molecular control of target trait of interest. Molecular markers like SSRs, RFLPs, ISSRs found effective to distinguish genetically similar accessions and to determine individual degree of heterozygosity and heterozygosity within plant genetic resource populations. Though studies on in vitro growth and morphogenesis of amaranth are scanty, but such studies are gaining momentum.


Male Sterility Interspecific Hybridisation Staminate Flower Pistillate Flower Dioecious Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saubhik Das
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyTaki Government CollegeTakiIndia

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