Vernalization response in chickpea is controlled by a major QTL
Wild Cicer species are known to be more responsive to vernalization (induce early flowering when exposed to low temperatures) than the cultivated chickpea. This study was aimed at molecular mapping of vernalization response quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in chickpea. An interspecific recombinant inbred line (RIL) population [ICC 4958 (Cicer arietinum) × PI 489777 (Cicer reticulatum)] was phenotyped for vernalization response for two consecutive years (2009–2010 and 2010–2011) under field conditions. A linkage map already available for this population was used for QTL analysis. A major QTL contributing 55 % of phenotypic variation for vernalization response trait was identified on LG 3 at LOD score of 27. The simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers TA64 and CaM1515 were flanking the QTL which spans a distance of 22 cM. Six Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC)-end sequence derived SSRs (CaM0717, CaM2086, CaM1760, CaM1364, CaM1122, and CaM0886) are present in this QTL region and can be used for isolation of vernalization response genes. Among 84 flowering related genes present in this region, Ca_06280 related to MADS box genes, was reported to play important role in vernalization in cereals. Understanding the genetic control of vernalization response in chickpea will help in exploitation of wild Cicer species in chickpea improvement.