Global Wild Annual Lens Collection: A Potential Resource for Lentil Genetic Base Broadening and Yield Enhancement
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Crop wild relatives (CWRs) are invaluable gene sources for various traits of interest, yet these potential resources are themselves increasingly threatened by the impact of climate change as well as other anthropogenic and socio-economic factors. The prime goal of our research was to cover all aspects of wild Lens genetic resource management like species characterization, agro-morphological evaluation, diversity assessment, and development of representative sets for its enhanced utilization in lentil base broadening and yield improvement initiatives. We characterized and evaluated extensively, the global wild annual Lens taxa, originating from twenty seven counties under two agro-climatic conditions of India consecutively for three cropping seasons. Results on various qualitative and quantitative characters including two foliar diseases showed wide variations for almost all yield attributing traits including multiple disease resistance in the wild species, L. nigricans and L. ervoides accessions. The core set developed from the entire Lens taxa had maximum representation from Turkey and Syria, indicating rich diversity in accessions originating from these regions. Diversity analysis also indicated wide geographical variations across genepool as was reflected in the core set. Potential use of core set, as an initial starting material, for genetic base broadening of cultivated lentil was also suggested.