AGILE: Application of Genomic Innovation in the Lentil Economy

2015 to 2019

Discovering Lentils

Discovering Lentils

AGILE Project Logo


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
PI 217949 LSP AGLPakistanLens culinarisAccession
PI 238758 LSP AGLBelgiumLens culinarisAccession
PI 244046 AGLYemenLens culinarisAccession
PI 250156 LSP AGLPakistanLens culinarisAccession
PI 250158 LSP AGLPakistanLens culinarisAccession
PI 251248 LSP AGLEgyptLens culinarisAccession
PI 273664 LSP AGLEthiopiaLens culinarisAccession
PI 280686 AGLEgyptLens culinarisAccession
PI 283604 LSP AGLPortugalLens culinarisAccession
PI 289066 AGLCzech RepublicLens culinarisAccession
PI 289073 LSP AGLHungaryLens culinarisAccession
PI 289079 LSP AGLEgyptLens culinarisAccession
PI 290716 LSP AGLUnited KingdomLens culinarisAccession
PI 297285 LSP AGLArgentinaLens culinarisAccession
PI 297287 AGLArgentinaLens culinarisAccession
PI 297754 LSP AGLGreeceLens culinarisAccession
PI 297767 AGLGreeceLens culinarisAccession
PI 297772 LSP AGLGreeceLens culinarisAccession
PI 297783 AGLEthiopiaLens culinarisAccession
PI 297787 LSP AGLGreeceLens culinarisAccession
PI 298023 LSP AGLTurkeyLens culinarisAccession
PI 298121 LSP AGLFranceLens culinarisAccession
PI 298122 LSP AGLFranceLens culinarisAccession
PI 298357 LSP AGLEgyptLens culinarisAccession
PI 298631 LSP AGLPeruLens culinarisAccession
PI 298644 LSP AGLSpainLens culinarisAccession
PI 298645 AGLSpainLens culinarisAccession
PI 298921 AGLItalyLens culinarisAccession
PI 298922 LSP AGLItalyLens culinarisAccession
PI 298923 LSP AGLItalyLens culinarisAccession
PI 299116 LSP AGLMexicoLens culinarisAccession
PI 299120 LSP AGLMexicoLens culinarisAccession
PI 299121 LSP AGLMexicoLens culinarisAccession
PI 299126 LSP AGLMexicoLens culinarisAccession
PI 299163 LSP AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299164 LSP AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299165 AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299177 LSP AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299237 LSP AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299289 AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299312 AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299345 AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299351 LSP AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299366 LSP AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 299375 LSP AGLChileLens culinarisAccession
PI 300250 LSP AGLSyriaLens culinarisAccession
PI 302398 LSP AGLJordanLens culinarisAccession
PI 308614 LSP AGLSyriaLens culinarisAccession
PI 311107 LSP AGLGuatemalaLens culinarisAccession
PI 312175 LSP AGLMexicoLens culinarisAccession


Sequences, Variants & Markers