Indian scientists decode Arhar genome

New Delhi: In an entirely indigenous effort, farm scientists have for the first time decoded genome of arhar dal, a breakthrough which would help in developing new varieties and enhancing productivity of the pulse crop.

A group of 31 scientists from the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, state agricultural universities and Banaras Hindu University (BHU), led by Nagendra Kumar Singh from ICAR`s National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology at New Delhi, decoded the genome of pigeon pea (arhar).

This is the first plant genome sequenced entirely through a network of Indian institutions and it will provide highly valuable resource for variety improvement of pigeonpea, an ICAR statement said. Availability of the Arhar genome sequence would accelerate development of new varieties and hybrids with enhanced productivity by making use of germplasm resources.

Average pulse crop productivity in India has remained low at about 650 kg per hectare for the last six decades leading to soaring `Dal` prices with increasing demands. Lack of high yielding, disease and pest resistant varieties is a major factor for the stagnant pulse productivity.