Genetics- and genomics-based interventions for nutritional enhancement of grain legume crops: status and outlook
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Abhishek Bohra, Kanwar Lal Sahrawat, Rohit Joshi, Ashok Parihar, Ummed Singh, Deepak Singh, Narendra Pratap Singh. (16/1/2015). Genetics- and genomics-based interventions for nutritional enhancement of grain legume crops: status and outlook. Journal of Applied Genetics, 56 (2), pp. 151-161.
Meeting the food demands and ensuring nutritional security of the ever increasing global population in the face of degrading natural resource base and impending climate change is the biggest challenge of the twenty first century. The consequences of mineral/micronutrient deficiencies or the hidden hunger in the developing world are indeed alarming and need urgent attention. In addressing the problems associated with mineral/micronutrient deficiency, grain legumes as an integral component of the farming systems in the developing world have to play a crucial role. For resource-poor populations, a strategy based on selecting and/or developing grain legume cultivars with grains denser in micronutrients, by biofortification, seems the most appropriate and attractive approach to address the problem. This is evident from the on-going global research efforts on biofortification to provide nutrient-dense grains for use by the poorest of the poor in the developing countries. Towards this end, rapidly growing genomics technologies hold promise to hasten the progress of breeding nutritious legume crops. In conjunction with the myriad of expansions in genomics, advances in other 'omics' technologies particularly plant ionomics or ionome profiling open up novel opportunities to comprehensively examine the elemental composition and mineral networks of an organism in a rapid and cost-effective manner. These emerging technologies would effectively guide the scientific community to enrich the edible parts of grain legumes with bio-available minerals and enhancers/promoters. We believe that the application of these new-generation tools in turn would provide crop-based solutions to hidden hunger worldwide for achieving global nutritional security.
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