Progress on the hybridization of cultivated lentil Lens culinaris Medik. and wild species Lens tomentosus Ladizinsky
de Silva, D.
The domestication of lentil has produced bottleneck effects resulting in a narrow genetic basis which has resulted in reduced levels of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses relative to its wild relatives. Phenotypic variability studies have identified wild lentil germplasm with resistance to anthracnose (Colletotrichum spp.), ascochyta blight (Ascochyta lentis), stemphylium blight (Stemphylium botryosum) and Orobanche spp. root-holoparasitic infection. To increase genetic diversity and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in new cultivars, introgression of desirable genes from crop wild relatives is necessary. Current evidences suggest seven taxa in the genus Lens Mill.: L. culinaris (ssp. culinaris and ssp. orientalis), L. odemensis, L. ervoides, L. nigricans, L. tomentosus and L. lamottei. Morphologically, the wild lentil species L. tomentosus most resembles L. orientalis although it can be distinguished as having a hairy pod. Previous attempts of crossing cultivated lentil L. culinaris with the wild species L. tomentosus, have failed to produce viable seeds, as with time growing embryos are gradually degraded and shrivelled, and non-viable seeds are formed; consequently an embryo rescue technique has been employed with limited success. However, this technique is time consuming, and also requires controlled growing environments and highly skilled technical personal. Using very comprehensive phenotyping technique, we have crossed cultivated lentil cultivar ‘Indian head’ with L. tomentosus and successfully produced viable F1 generation and it has currently being evaluated for phenological and morphological characteristics. Our results suggest successful results can be achieved by selecting phenotypically resembling lentil species as parents as an initial step.
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