AGILE: Application of Genomic Innovation in the Lentil Economy

2015 to 2019

Discovering Lentils

Discovering Lentils

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Development of improved lentil cultivars well-adapted to the local environment is an on-going process in the breeding program and is critical for long-term genetic gain. Recent climate instability adds another layer of complexity to breeding efforts. Continued genetic improvement of lentil will, therefore, involve the introduction of new alleles that extend beyond the existing adapted pool of germplasm. Our goal in AGILE is to enhance the productivity and quality of Canadian lentils by expediting the expansion of genetic diversity of the Canadian lentil germplasm base with the use of genomic technologies.

Saskatchewan Harvest 2017 Panoramic of AGILE plot

In this project, we will first characterize the genetic variability available within the primary and secondary gene pools of the genus Lens through extensive genotyping and phenotyping. The information will be used to determine the genetic basis of the contrasting adaptation characteristics of lentils from the three main growing regions: northern temperate, mediterranean and S. Asia. We will then develop breeder-friendly markers for tracking response to photoperiod, temperature and light quality, and generate resources and tools to allow breeders to better use exotic germplasm and wild relatives while reducing any negative impacts. A systematic study of symbiont diversity will allow for a better understanding of ways to improve the nitrogen fixation process in lentils.

SteverShirtliffe Morocco AGILE Panel

Access to superior cultivars does not automatically translate to adoption by farmers, particularly if they are unfamiliar with lentil crop production. Numerous factors influence crop production decisions, and a clearer understanding of these will help increase producer uptake of this important crop. Our GE3LS research will identify the various factors that may influence producer decision making processes and propose a strategy for effective communication and knowledge exchange/transfer, which will encourage sustainable and profitable production of lentils in Canada.

Results of AGILE will allow us to develop a thorough understanding of lentil and its wild relatives. Resources developed by this project will improve the agility of the lentil breeding program by introducing genetic diversity with greater precision, and speed up the breeding cycle. This project will also foster international partnership, which is critical for long-term success of the international lentil community.

Research Area
Breeding & Genetics

Plant breeding is the art and science of changing the traits of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from simply selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to more complex molecular techniques. ... [more]

Related Species

Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) is an important pulse crop with annual production of 3-4 Mt across 70 countries (Cubero et al. 2009. DOI 10.1079/9781845934873.0000; pg. 13). Lentils are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, micronutrients and vitamins for human nutrition and is consumed in more than 120 countries. Furthermore, their small seed size and flat shape make them relatively quick cooking and easily decorticated compared to most other grain legumes (Sharpe et al. 2013. BMC Genomics. DOI 10.1186/1471-2164-14-192). The Lentil plant has a bushy growth habit with a height of about 40 cm; the seeds are lens-shaped and usually grow two per pod. ... [more]


Lens lamottei is a wild relative of Lens culinaris with horizontal, less dentate stipules1. Recent sequence analysis indicates that Lens lamottei is in the secondary gene pool of L. culinaris2. ... [more]


Lens odemensis is a wild relative of Lens culinaris with semi-hastate stipules which form horizontal positions on the stem1. Recent sequence analysis indicates that Lens odemensis is in the secondary gene pool of L. culinaris2. ... [more]


Lens orientalis is a wild relative of Lens culinaris with lanceolate stipules. The geographical distribution of Lens orientalis ranges from Turkey to Uzbekistan with a primary habitat of stony and gravelly niches where aggressive annuals are not successful1. Lens orientalis usually forms small disjunct populations containing a small number of plants in sparse stands1. More extensive populations of L. orientalis were found at high elevations (800 to 2,000 m)1. Recent sequence analysis indicates that Lens orientalis is in the primary gene pool of L. culinaris2 ... [more]


Lens tomentosus is a wild relative of Lens culinaris. Morphologically, L. tomentosus most resembles L. orientalis although it can be distinguished as having a hairy pod2. Recent sequence analysis indicates that Lens orientalis is in the primary gene pool of L. culinaris2. ... [more]

There are 324 Accessions used in this project.Download List
Namesort ascendingOriginSpeciesType
IG 4781 AGLAlgeriaLens culinarisAccession
IG 858 AGLAlgeriaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 10657 AGLTurkeyLens culinarisAccession
ILL 10748 AGLSyriaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 11547 AGLEthiopiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 11548 AGLEthiopiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 11553 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 11555 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 11557 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 11558 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 1220 AGLIranLens culinarisAccession
ILL 1553 AGLIranLens culinarisAccession
ILL 1762 AGLAfghanistanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 1983 AGLEthiopiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 213 AGLAfghanistanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 2194 AGLPakistanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 2507 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 2580 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 28 AGLSyriaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 3025 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 313 AGLIsraelLens culinarisAccession
ILL 3347 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 358 AGLMexicoLens culinarisAccession
ILL 3597 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4164 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4400 AGLSyriaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4605 AGLArgentinaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4609 AGLPakistanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4665 AGLHungaryLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4671 AGLUSALens culinarisAccession
ILL 4768 AGLYemenLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4782 AGLNorwayLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4783 AGLCzech RepublicLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4804 AGLLibyaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4875 AGLUzbekistanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 4956 AGLPortugalLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5058 AGLSpainLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5151 AGLIndiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5209 AGLJordanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5480 AGLCzech RepublicLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5639 AGLEthiopiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5722 AGLTurkeyLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5883 AGLJordanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5888 AGLBangladeshLens culinarisAccession
ILL 5945 AGLEthiopiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 6002 AGLSyriaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 6182 AGLTunisiaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 618 AGLTajikistanLens culinarisAccession
ILL 6211 AGLSyriaLens culinarisAccession
ILL 624 AGLMacedoniaLens culinarisAccession


Sequences, Variants & Markers