Pisum sativum

Common NamePea

Pea (Pisum sativum L.) is one of the first domesticated crops, and was the model crop for the foundational genetic studies by Gregor Mendel, which he first reported in 1865. Pea is grown in most temperate regions of the world with annual production over the past decade of 10-12 million tonnes of field pea and 14-17 million tonnes of vegetable pea. Pea belongs to the Leguminosae family and consists of two species, P. fulvum and P. sativum with several ‘wild’ subspecies of P. sativum. Canada is the leading producer and exporter of field pea in the world. Saskatchewan is the leading province in pea production followed by Alberta and Manitoba.

Pea is a rich source of protein, slowly digestible starch, fiber, vitamins and minerals at a modest price. Whole pea, pea flour, and pea fractions (protein, starch, fiber) are becoming widely used in many food products, and specialty aquaculture and pet food applications.

Most pea breeding activities in the world are conducted in public institutions in Canada, USA, Australia, Europe, India and China, with smaller programs in Africa and South America. A few private companies breeding pea are based in Europe, USA and New Zealand. Through breeding and agronomic improvements, field pea yields have increased by approximately 2% per year over the past 15 years. Lodging resistance has been improved through selection for the semileafless trait and stem stiffness. Internationally, key efforts are underway to address disease resistance (particularly fungal), abiotic stress resistance, and seed quality through conventional and molecular breeding approaches.

Property NameValue
Genome Size~4.3 Gbp
Modal Chromosome Number2n=14
Principal Investigator
  • Tom D. Warkentin Tom D. Warkentin: Breeding field pea varieties and conducting related research in collaboration with colleagues in areas including disease resistance, abiotic stress resistance, and nutritional quality.
Plant breedingDevelopment of high yielding field pea cultivars with resistance to powdery mildew and improved resistance to ascochyta blight, root rots, and lodging with superior quality for export and domestic markets.
Seed phenotypeyellow, green, red, marrowfat, maple, forage, sprouting
Taxonomy cellular organisms; Eukaryota; Viridiplantae; Streptophyta; Streptophytina; Embryophyta; Tracheophyta; Euphyllophyta; Spermatophyta; Magnoliophyta; Mesangiospermae; eudicotyledons; Gunneridae; Pentapetalae; rosids; fabids; Fabales; Fabaceae; Papilionoideae; Fabeae; Pisum
Germplasm Data
The following germplasm data is currently available:
Stock TypeCount
Single Cross1,540
Triple Cross1,374
Double Cross161
Multiple Cross31
Recombinant Inbred Line19
Sequence & Variant Data
The following sequence and variant data are currently present:
Feature TypeCount
The project will evaluate the effect of growing mixtures of semileafless (cv. CDC Dakota) and leafy (cv. CDC Sonata) field peas on Mycosphaerella blight development, weed suppression, lodging, and yields. The objectives of the project are to identify an optimum ratio of semileafless to leafy peas for organic production, and to investigate the effect of different pea canopy environments on Mycosphaerella blight development.
Approximately 60-80% of total phosphorus is stored in crop seeds as phytate. Phytate is not readily available to humans and non-ruminant livestock because of their lack of phytase enzyme. The low-phytate lines had similar seedling emergence counts, vine length, lodging score, and mycosphaerella blight score when compared with CDC Bronco. The low-phytate lines had somewhat later days to flowering and days to maturity, and somewhat lower grain yield and seed weight than CDC Bronco. Harvested seeds of the low-phytate lines had substantially higher inorganic phosphorus (1.21-1.28 mg/g) concentration than CDC Bronco (0.24-0.25 mg/g) and the other normal-phytate cultivars.
Double haploids are plants developed from either a male or female gamete, n=1 cell, and therefore are completely homozygous at all loci. Because all traits are visible within one generation, this methodology adds speed and efficiency to breeding programs. The goal of our research is to improve all aspects of the field pea anther culture protocol including: increasing the number of immature pollen grains initiated to become embryogenic, improving the regeneration of haploid embryos, and regenerating plants from those embryos.
Ninety-six Pea Association mapping panel (PAM) lines were run on the Ps1536 Pea Illumina Golden Gate assay.
In many important crop species, the strategy of single seed descent (SSD) enables only 2 - 3 generations per year. Approximately eight generations of inbreeding are required before plants are mostly homozygous (‘true breeding’). This creates a ‘bottleneck’ in cultivar development. Hence, the purpose of this project is to develop a rapid generation cycling technique for CDC pulse crops in order to speed up the breeding process by using in vitro flowering technique.