Publication of a research conducted by Prof. Ram Reifen S. Abbo, C. Molina, Jungmann M. A, Grusak Z. Berkovitch, Ruth Reifen, G. Kahl, P. Winter
Chickpea is a staple protein source in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The seeds contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin in amounts above the engineered betacarotene-containing ‘‘golden rice’’ level. Thus, breeding for high carotenoid concentration in seeds is of nutritional, socio-economic, and economic importance. To study the genetics governing seed carotenoids in chickpea, we studied the relationship between seed weight and concentrations of beta-carotene and lutein by means of high-performance liquid chromatography in segregating progeny from a cross between an Israeli cultivar and wild Cicer reticulatum Ladiz. Seeds of the cross progeny varied with respect to their carotenoid concentration (heritability estimates ranged from 0.5 to 0.9), and a negative genetic correlation was found between mean seed weight and carotenoid concentration in the F3. To determine the loci responsible for the genetic variation observed, the population was genotyped using 91 sequence tagged microsatellite site markers and two CytP450 markers to generate a genetic map consisting of nine linkage groups and a total length of 344.6 cM. Using quantitative data collected for beta-carotene and lutein concentration and seed weight of the seeds of the F2 population, we were able to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) by interval mapping. At a LOD score of 2, four QTLs for beta-carotene concentration, a single QTL for lutein concentration and three QTLs for seed weight were detected. The results of this investigation may assist in improving the nutritional quality of chickpea.