AGILE: Application of Genomic Innovation in the Lentil Economy

2015 to 2019

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.

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.

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 357 Accessions used in this project.
Namesort ascendingAccessionSpeciesTypeOrigin
PI 420925 LSPKP:GERM27232Lens culinarisAccession
PI 420929 LSPKP:GERM27234Lens culinarisAccession
PI 426202 LSPKP:GERM27236Lens culinarisAccession
PI 426778 LSPKP:GERM27238Lens culinarisAccession
PI 426784 LSPKP:GERM27240Lens culinarisAccession
PI 426797 LSPKP:GERM27242Lens culinarisAccession
PI 426803 LSPKP:GERM27244Lens culinarisAccession
PI 426807 LSPKP:GERM27246Lens culinarisAccession
PI 429369 LSPKP:GERM27248Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431622 LSPKP:GERM27254Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431630 LSPKP:GERM27256Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431631 LSPKP:GERM27258Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431633 LSPKP:GERM27260Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431636 LSPKP:GERM27262Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431643 LSPKP:GERM27264Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431662 LSPKP:GERM27266Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431663 LSPKP:GERM27268Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431684 LSPKP:GERM27274Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431705 LSPKP:GERM27276Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431710 LSPKP:GERM27278Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431714 LSPKP:GERM27280Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431717 LSPKP:GERM27282Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431728 LSPKP:GERM27284Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431731 LSPKP:GERM27286Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431739 LSPKP:GERM27288Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431753 LSPKP:GERM27290Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431756 LSPKP:GERM27292Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431768 LSPKP:GERM27294Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431774 LSPKP:GERM27296Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431809 LSPKP:GERM27298Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431810 LSPKP:GERM27300Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431824 LSPKP:GERM27302Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431863 LSPKP:GERM27304Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431873 LSPKP:GERM27306Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431884 LSPKP:GERM27308Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431888 LSPKP:GERM27310Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431893 LSPKP:GERM27312Lens culinarisAccession
PI 431923 LSPKP:GERM27314Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432000 LSPKP:GERM27320Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432002 LSPKP:GERM27324Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432005 LSPKP:GERM27326Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432028 LSPKP:GERM27328Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432033 LSPKP:GERM27330Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432071 LSPKP:GERM27332Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432085 LSPKP:GERM27334Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432087 LSPKP:GERM27336Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432106 LSPKP:GERM27338Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432124 LSPKP:GERM27340Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432145 LSPKP:GERM27342Lens culinarisAccession
PI 432147 LSPKP:GERM27344Lens culinarisAccession


Sequences, Variants & Markers