Vernalization and Photoperiod Response in Annual Wild Cicer Species and Cultivated Chickpea
Wild Cicer species possess high levels of resistance to many stresses and can contribute to enhance levels of resistances besides broadening the genetic base of cultivated chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). However, longer duration of wild Cicer species and nonsynchronization of flowering with cultigen remains a major deterrence for their use in chickpea improvement. In this study, the response to vernalization (V), photoperiod (P), and combination of both (V + P) was studied in terms of rate of progress toward flowering in cultivated and wild Cicer species belonging to primary, secondary, and tertiary gene pools. Both V and P treatments, alone and in combination, significantly increased the rate of progress toward flowering in wild Cicer species compared with control. Effect of P in increasing the rate of progress toward flowering was significantly higher than V in C. reticulatum Ladiz., C. echinospermum P. H. Davis, C. judaicum Boiss., C. pinnatifidum Jaub. & Spach, C. bijugum Rech. f., and C. yamashitae Kitam. and vice versa in C. chorassanicum (Bunge) Popov and C. cuneatum Hochst. ex A. Rich. Synergistic effects of V and P were observed in C. bijugum, C. yamashitae, C. chorassanicum, and C. cuneatum. However, both V and P treatments had minimal effect on the rate of progress toward flowering in early-maturing and greater effects on medium- and late-maturing chickpea varieties. These results would contribute significantly to enhance use of wild Cicer species for chickpea improvement through synchronization of flowering facilitating hybridization. Also, it would improve the regeneration efficiency of wild Cicer species by genebanks and offer convenient alternate methods for rapid generation turnover.