Mapping a major gene for growth habit and QTLs for ascochyta blight resistance and flowering time in a population between chickpea and Cicer reticulatum


Ascochyta blight is a devastating disease of chickpea. Breeders have been trying to introduce resistance from wild Cicer into cultivated chickpea, however, the effort is hampered by the frequent genetic drag of undesirable traits. Therefore, this study was aimed to identify potential markers linked to plant growth habit, ascochyta blight resistance and days to flowering for marker-assisted breeding. An interspecific F2 population between chickpea and C. reticulatum was constructed to develop a genetic linkage map. F2 plants were cloned through stem cuttings for replicated assessment of ascochyta blight resistance. A closely linked marker (TA34) on linkage group (LG) 3 was identified for plant growth habit explaining 95.2% of the variation. Three quantitative trait loci (QTLs) explaining approximately 49% of the phenotypic variation were found for ascochyta blight resistance on LG 3 and LG 4. Flowering time was controlled by two QTLs on LG3 explaining 90.2% of the variation. Ascochyta blight resistance was negatively correlated with flowering time (r = −0.22, P < 0.001) but not correlated with plant growth habit.



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