Using Crop Wild Relatives for Future Lentil Breeding: Evaluation of Drought and Disease Resistance of Interspecific Hybrid Lines

2014 to 2017

This is an international project funded by the Global Crop Diversity Trust ( aimed at evaluating cultivated x wild lentil introgression lines for multiple traits in multiple environments with a view to identifying promising lines with tolerance to multiple stresses.

Use of crop wild relatives is regaining status as an important genetic strategy for future global food and nutritional security in the face of genetic erosion from loss of diversity and environmental shifts caused by climate change and loss of natural habitat. In Phase I of this project we intend to grow primary breeding lines developed from available interspecific hybrids between the cultivated lentil (Lens culinaris) and the wild lentil species that represent the primary and secondary gene pools (L. orientalis, L. ervoides). Selected RILs from interspecies crosses are being evaluated, along with local and other checks, in locations in Canada, Spain, Morocco, Ethiopia, Turkey, Bangladesh and India.  Phenotypes of interest include resistance to the parasitic plant Orobanche crenata, resistance to stemphyllium blight ( Stemphylium botryosum), and tolerance to drought.

The results will lead to (1) rapid development of genetic resources for preservation, (2) rapid deployment of genetic resources for breeding programs for traits of economic significance (3) development of of  practical genetic markers for plant breeders (4) up to date genetic maps for lentil and its wild relatives (5) increased reliability and productivity for future lentil crops.


April/May 2015 Field Trial Update

Bert and Kirstin visited sites in Turkey (Diyarbakir and Kiziltepe) and Spain (Córdoba).  There was a lot of variation among the lines - a huge response to the environment.

Thanks to Beybin, Omer, Tugba, and Diego for showing us the plots.

Kiziltepe Field Trial April 2015

Kiziltepe Turkey. April 28, 2015

Córdoba Spain. May 1, 2015
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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]


In the Pulse Crop Pathology Group we are interested in the biology of fungal and bacterial pathogens and their interaction with the legume host plants. The ultimate goal is to gain a better understanding of strategies employed by these pathogens to successfully invade and colonize pulse crops, and to explo ... [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 ervoides is a wild relative of Lens culinaris with semi-hastate or lanceolate stipules. L. ervoides can be distinguished from other wild Lentil species by its smaller leaves, calyx teath, pods and seeds1. L. ervoides is often found in shady or partially shady niches, such as among bushes or under trees, with stony soils1. Unlike other wild lentil species, L. ervoides is rarely found in mixed stands with other wild lentils1. Recent sequence analysis indicates that Lens ervoides is in the tertiary 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]

Sequences, Variants & Markers