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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00966

Resistance to plant-parasitic nematodes in chickpea: Current status and future perspectives

 Rebecca S. Zwart1*, Mahendar Thudi1, 2,  SONAL M. CHANNALE1, Praveen K. Manchikatla2, 3, Rajeev K. Varshney2 and  John P. Thompson1
  • 1University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • 2International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India
  • 3Osmania University, India

Plant-parasitic nematodes constrain chickpea (Cicer arietinum) production, with annual yield losses estimated to be 14% of total global production. Nematode species causing significant economic damage in chickpea include root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne artiella, M. incognita, M. javanica), cyst nematode (Heterodera ciceri), and root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus thornei). Reduced functionality of roots from nematode infestation leads to water stress and nutrient deficiency, which in turn lead to poor plant growth and reduced yield. Integration of resistant crops with appropriate agronomic practices is recognized as the safest and most practical, economic and effective control strategy for plant-parasitic nematodes. However, breeding for resistance to plant-parasitic nematodes has numerous challenges that originate from the narrow genetic diversity of the C. arietinum cultigen. While levels of resistance to M. artiella, H. ciceri and P. thornei have been identified in wild Cicer species that are superior to resistance levels in the C. arietinum cultigen, barriers to interspecific hybridization restrict the use of these crop wild relatives, as sources of nematode resistance. Wild Cicer species of the primary genepool, C. reticulatum and C. echinospermum, are the only species that have been used to introgress resistance genes into the C. arietinum cultigen. The availability of genomic resources, including genome sequence and re-sequence information, the chickpea reference set and mini-core collections, and new wild Cicer collections, provide unprecedented opportunities for chickpea improvement. This review surveys progress in the identification of novel genetic sources of nematode resistance in international germplasm collections and recommends genome-assisted breeding strategies to accelerate introgression of nematode resistance into elite chickpea cultivars.

Keywords: Cicer arietinium, Crop wild relatives, Root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne spp., chickpea cyst nematode, Heterodera ciceri, Root-lesion nematode, Pratylenchus thornei

Received: 26 Mar 2019; Accepted: 10 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Karam B. Singh, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia

Reviewed by:

Paola Leonetti, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italy
Kevin E. McPhee, Montana State University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Zwart, Thudi, CHANNALE, Manchikatla, Varshney and Thompson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Rebecca S. Zwart, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia,