Developing Climate-Resilient Chickpea Involving Physiological and Molecular Approaches With a Focus on Temperature and Drought Stresses

Anju Rani, Poonam Devi, Uday Chand Jha, Kamal Dev Sharma, Kadambot H.M. Siddique, Harsh Nayyar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Chickpea is one of the most economically important food legumes, and a significant source of proteins. It is cultivated in more than 50 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. Chickpea production is limited by various abiotic stresses (cold, heat, drought, salt, etc.). Being a winter-season crop in northern south Asia and some parts of the Australia, chickpea faces low-temperature stress (0–15°C) during the reproductive stage that causes substantial loss of flowers, and thus pods, to inhibit its yield potential by 30–40%. The winter-sown chickpea in the Mediterranean, however, faces cold stress at vegetative stage. In late-sown environments, chickpea faces high-temperature stress during reproductive and pod filling stages, causing considerable yield losses. Both the low and the high temperatures reduce pollen viability, pollen germination on the stigma, and pollen tube growth resulting in poor pod set. Chickpea also experiences drought stress at various growth stages; terminal drought, along with heat stress at flowering and seed filling can reduce yields by 40–45%. In southern Australia and northern regions of south Asia, lack of chilling tolerance in cultivars delays flowering and pod set, and the crop is usually exposed to terminal drought. The incidences of temperature extremes (cold and heat) as well as inconsistent rainfall patterns are expected to increase in near future owing to climate change thereby necessitating the development of stress-tolerant and climate-resilient chickpea cultivars having region specific traits, which perform well under drought, heat, and/or low-temperature stress. Different approaches, such as genetic variability, genomic selection, molecular markers involving quantitative trait loci (QTLs), whole genome sequencing, and transcriptomics analysis have been exploited to improve chickpea production in extreme environments. Biotechnological tools have broadened our understanding of genetic basis as well as plants' responses to abiotic stresses in chickpea, and have opened opportunities to develop stress tolerant chickpea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1759
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2020


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