Genomic Tools in Pea Breeding Programs: Status and Perspectives.

Pea (Pisum sativum L.) is an annual cool-season legume and one of the oldest domesticated crops. Dry pea seeds contain 22-25% protein, complex starch and fiber constituents, and a rich array of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which make them a valuable source for human consumption and livestock feed. Dry pea ranks third to common bean and chickpea as the most widely grown pulse in the world with more than 11 million tons produced in 2013. Pea breeding has achieved great success since the time of Mendel’s experiments in the mid-1800s. However, several traits still require significant improvement for better yield stability in a larger growing area. Key breeding objectives in pea include improving biotic and abiotic stress resistance and enhancing yield components and seed quality. Taking advantage of the diversity present in the pea genepool, many mapping populations have been constructed in the last decades and efforts have been deployed to identify loci involved in the control of target traits and further introgress them into elite breeding materials. Pea now benefits from next-generation sequencing and high-throughput genotyping technologies that are paving the way for genome-wide association studies and genomic selection approaches. This review covers the significant development and deployment of genomic tools for pea breeding in recent years. Future prospects are discussed especially in light of current progress toward deciphering the pea genome.

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