Allelic relationships of flowering time genes in chickpea
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Flowering time and crop duration are the most important traits for adaptation of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) to different agro-climatic conditions. Early flowering and early maturity enhance adaptation of chickpea to short season environments. This study was conducted to establish allelic relationships of the early flowering genes of ICC 16641, ICC 16644 and ICCV 96029 with three known early flowering genes, efl-1 (ICCV 2), ppd or efl-2 (ICC 5810), and efl-3 (BGD 132). In all cases, late flowering was dominant to early-flowering. The results indicated that the efl-1 gene identified from ICCV 2 was also present in ICCV 96029, which has ICCV 2 as one of the parents in its pedigree. ICC 16641 and ICC 16644 had a common early flowering gene which was not allelic to other reported early flowering genes. The new early flowering gene was designated efl-4. In most of the crosses, days to flowering was positively correlated with days to maturity, number of pods per plant, number of seeds per plant and seed yield per plant and negatively correlated or had no correlation with 100-seed weight. The double-pod trait improved grain yield per plant in the crosses where it delayed maturity. The information on allelic relationships of early flowering genes and their effects on yield and yield components will be useful in chickpea breeding for desired phenology.