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Authors: Sood, Salej and Joshi, Dinesh C and Chandra, Ajay Kumar and Kumar, Anil

Diverse gene pool, advanced plant phenomics and genomics methods enhanced genetic gain and understanding of important agronomic, adaptation and nutritional traits in finger millet. Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn) is an important minor millet for food and nutritional security in semi-arid regions of the world. The crop has wide adaptability and can be grown right from high hills in Himalayan region to coastal plains. It provides food grain as well as palatable straw for cattle, and is fairly climate resilient. The crop has large gene pool with distinct features of both Indian and African germplasm types. Interspecific hybridization between Indian and African germplasm has resulted in greater yield enhancement and disease resistance. The crop has shown numerous advantages over major cereals in terms of stress adaptation, nutritional quality and health benefits. It has indispensable repository of novel genes for the benefits of mankind. Although rapid strides have been made in allele mining in model crops and major cereals, the progress in finger millet genomics is lacking. Comparative genomics have paved the way for the marker-assisted selection, where resistance gene homologues of rice for blast and sequence variants for nutritional traits from other cereals have been invariably used. Transcriptomics studies have provided preliminary understanding of the nutritional variation, drought and salinity tolerance. However, the genetics of many important traits in finger millet is poorly understood and need systematic efforts from biologists across disciplines. Recently, deciphered finger millet genome will enable identification of candidate genes for agronomically and nutritionally important traits. Further, improvement in genome assembly and application of genomic selection as well as genome editing in near future will provide plethora of information and opportunity to understand the genetics of complex traits.

Journal: Planta
DOI: 10.1007/s00425-019-03159-6
Year: 2019

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