November 12, 2021
With dramatic changes to the Earth’s climate due to the climate crisis, it is essential that work is done to ensure crops of the future can withstand their environment. The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is an important high protein crop making it beneficial to find the best possible varieties to grow.
To meet this goal, researchers from the University of Queensland created genetic maps of over 3000 chickpea varieties and used artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to analyze the genetic data. This was done to gain a better understanding of the complete genetic variation within this species. By identifying 1,582 new genes, the team believe they have created a foundation that will allow for breeding new varieties of chickpea that are more able to withstand drought, disease, and warmer temperatures, all while producing higher yields.
The team is using a technology platform called “FatStack” which combines genomic prediction technology with AI, which is able to help identify the ideal combination of genes that will improve performance of this crop. Next steps in this project will be to use a tool called speed breeding that will speed up the traditionally slow and laborious process of cross-breeding existing chickpea varieties in order to get the ultimate blend of genes. This work will help improve breeding strategies for the ideal chickpea for the future.
Read more: https://www.futurity.org/chickpeas-artificial-intelligence-crops-2656432/