Advances in Legume Research: Physiological Responses and Genetic Improvement for Stress Resistance

Genetic Diversity, Conservation and Cultivation of Grain Legumes

Author(s): Phetole Mangena, Samuel Tebogo Posie Peta and Arinao Mukatuni

Pp: 21-39 (19)

DOI: 10.2174/9789811479625120010005

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Understanding genetic diversity is essential for achieving genetic improvement and conservation of grain legumes. These crops serve as important pulses grown and consumed all over the world, especially in Africa, south east Asia and America. Legumes serve as a good source of carbohydrates, oil, fibre and proteins. They contain all essential amino acids, nutritionally important unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic and oleic acids, and mineral elements such as K, Ca, Mg, P and Zn. The seeds contain all important vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin A precursor ß-carotene and folate. As with other crops like cereals, legumes face reduced genetic diversity, which impact negatively on the production of newly improved varieties showing stress tolerance. Conservation of wild genetic resources and cultivated germplasm will provide genetic materials for future breeding programmes. Genome sequencing libraries and bioinformatics tools could be used to screen and select genotypes with desirable traits, even according to the geographical patterns. The results will be of major importance for conservation genetics and breeding of newly improved cultivars that exhibit high resilience to adverse global climate patterns and plant pathogens.

Keywords: Conservation, Genetic diversity, Grain legumes, Pulse crops.

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