Doubled-haploid and rapid generation turnover, grafting, interspecific hybridization, embryogenesis & regeneration

2012 to 2015

This group is involved in a wide range of biotechnology projects that accelerate the legume breeding process. Double-haploid technology has been achieved in both chickpea and field pea by the CDC group in collaboration with colleagues in France and Australia. Efforts are underway to adapt this technology to lentil.  Improving efficiency and integrating these techniques into routine breeding programs to enhance genetic gain are important long-term goals. 

In vitro protocols are being developed to rapidly accelerate the breeding cycle of five pulse crops through early flower induction and rescue of young embryos. Our goal is to produce at least 6 generations per year. These techniques will be used for high priority crosses to accelerate genetic or breeding productivity.

Other in vitro applications involve using wild species as sources of biotic and abiotic stress resistances. Many of these crosses require rescuing of interspecific hybrids during early regeneration stages. A successful example was the transfer of anthracnose resistance Ct0 from Lens ervoides and L. lamottei into the cultivated lentil. Research into accessing other wild lentil species is in progress. Potential sources of ascochyta blight resistance superior to currently available sources have been identified in the perennial wild chickpea and determination of the disease resistance mechanisms is in progress. If this resistance is proven to be more durable and less prone to resistance break-down than that of our current sources, then wild chickpea would be a valuable genetic resource.

Grafting methods developed at the CDC have shown to be another useful tool for breeding of pulse crops. This technique is used both for rooting hybrids in vitro and for increasing seed supply during early regeneration stages.

Cell and tissue culture techniques are complementary to classical breeding procedures, and will help to increase the efficiency of specific steps in the overall breeding process. Cell culture systems could become an even more powerful tool in plant breeding when used in conjunction with other methods, such as disease or herbicide resistance testing or chilling tolerance screening.  Further improvement and understanding of the basic techniques as they apply to pulse crops will allow CDC breeders to use them in a more predictable way. Strong collaboration in research efforts exist at the national (PBI, AAFC) and international level (such as CLIMA, INRA and ICRISAT).

Research Area

The objectives of the Pulse Research Group Physiology Program is to investigate whole plant and field responses of crops, particularly pulse crops, to nutrient, water and weather.  To understand and improve yield formation in pulse crops in a warming climate.  To investigate and improve nitrogen ... [more]

Related Species

There are three main kinds of chickpeas: Desi, which has small, darker seeds and a rough coat; Bombay, which has slightly larger dark seeds; and Kabuli, which has lighter coloured seeds with a smooth coat. Chickpeas are an excellent source of the essential nutrients, iron, folate, phosphorus, protein and dietary fiber. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated. Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fiber content than Kabulis and hence a very low glycemic index which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems. The plant grows to between 20–50 cm high and has small feathery leaves on either side of the stem. Chickpea pods are short in length containing 2-3 seeds. ... [more]


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]


Dry Bean are high in starch, protein and dietary fiber, as well as being an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6 and folate. Dry beans take longer to cook then most pulses, although cooking time can be shortened by soaking dried beans before cooking. Dry Bean is a highly variable species with growth habits ranging from bush varieties growing 20-60cm tall to vine varieties growing 2-3m long. While dry bean varieties range in growth habit all have characteristic green or purple alternate leaves and long pods containing 4-6 kidney-shaped seeds. ... [more]


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. ... [more]


Faba bean is an annual legume that thrives in relatively cooler growing climates. It is one of the best nitrogen fixers among the grain legumes deriving up to 74% of its nitrogen from the atmosphere and leaving soil nitrogen balances positive (Amanuel et al., Biol Fertil Soils 32:353–359). Nutritionally, it is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, copper and manganese, and a very good source of folate. It is also very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Faba bean has an erect growth habit with stiff stems and long pinnate, gray-green leaves. The pods are long with a downy interior and contain 3-8 seeds. Faba bean is still often grown as a cover crop to prevent erosion, because they can overwinter and because as a legume, they fix nitrogen in the soil. ... [more]

Sequences, Variants & Markers