Climate Resilience and Nutrition in Chickpea
The Climate Resilient Chickpea Innovation Lab emphasizes the crop-based traits of climate resilience and nutrition, focusing genetic improvement on the needs of small holder farmers in Ethiopia and India. In both countries chickpea is key to food security, providing a vital source of protein nutrition and income. In Ethiopia, smallholder farms dominate chickpea’s production acreage, with low and variable yields. Though India is both the largest producer and consumer of chickpea, yields are significantly below those in intensively managed systems. Year to year climatic variation is a key factor in variable yield and thus addressing climate resilience is a key priority. Moreover women’s labor dominates smallholder farming in Ethiopia and thus year‑to‑year variation in chickpea production has a disproportionate impact on rural women and their children. More >>
Partners and Expertise
Our combined research activities span from basic research focused on bridging key knowledge gaps, to directed efforts that emphasize applied outcomes of impact to farmers. Our members and partners include academic and national program laboratories in the US, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Kenya, Turkey, Morocco, Canada and Australia. Our collective expertise is intentionally multi-disciplinary, spanning genetics and genomics to quantitative biology, ecology to breeding, seed nutrition and agronomy, to plant pathology. More on Our Team and Our Partners.
Feed The Future Innovation Labs
Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is pairing American ingenuity and expertise with some of the best and brightest minds across the globe through its 23 Feed the Future Innovation Labs. Link to information about the 23 Feed the Future Innovation Labs.
- UC Davis Professor Douglas Cook gave a talk titled, "Pulses: The Heroes of Nutrition & Agricultural Sustainability" on October 5, 2016. The seminar was hosted live online and is available for viewing.
Video of Dr. Cook's presentation.
- Feed the Future 2016 Progress Report
- USAID's Beth Dunford, Bureau for Food Security Assistant to the Administrator, discussed youth and Feed the Future at The Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit on September 28, 2016. Video of Dr. Dunford's presentation.
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Gayle Smith announced a new report titled A Food-Secure 2030 that expands the U.S. Government's vision for ending global hunger, poverty, and undernutrition over the next 15 years.
- Obama signs Global Food Security Act to end hunger, USA Today, July 21, 2016
- White House Summit on Global Development, YouTube Videos of Panel Discussions and President Obama's Remarks
- FAO Biotechnologies Symposium. WEBCAST: Facing the challenges of climate change. Includes talk by Douglas Cook, "Molecular breeding in legumes for resource-poor farmers: Chickpea for Ethiopia and India".
- FAO Interview of Douglas Cook, University of California Davis, USA, about the importance of wild gene pools for improving crops and what genetic changes in crops can make them more efficient.
- Harnessing the Power of Crop Wild Relatives for Pulse Improvement
- U.S. Universities Step Up to Fight Hunger
- USAID Sponsored Innovation Lab to Improve Chickpea Production Launched in Ethiopia
- The Small But Mighty Chickpea
- UC Davis helps global team sequence chickpea genome
This project fosters breeding of high‑yielding, climate resilient chickpea within the context of user‑preferred traits: seed quality and nutrient density, reduced inputs due to climate resilient nitrogen fixation, and biotic stress resistance among them. We have identified and are introducing newly collected wild alleles into diverse high performing elite cultivars. These efforts will make chickpea more resilient to climatic variation, and in the process help alleviate rural poverty, reduce childhood malnutrition, and increase food security for smallholder farmers. More >>
Chickpea and its wild relatives have a natural capacity for nitrogen fixation, reducing their dependence on fertilizer nitrogen. Nevertheless domesticated legumes, including chickpea, often suffer from low and/or variable rates of nitrogen fixation. This project bridges ecology and molecular biology by means of genomics and quantitative biology to identify and subsequently analyze genes involved in the establishment of the legume rhizobial symbiosis. More >>
Global Crop Diversity Trust
This project includes the dual focuses of (1) curation, increase and distribution of wild germplasm, and (2) analysis of drought tolerance among representative wild accessions. Water availability is critical during reproduction and grain filling, and thus is a key factor in yield. Plant traits that conserve soil moisture even when water is not limiting are likely to be relevant for yield improvement under limiting water conditions, especially in chickpea where the most relevant water stress is terminal drought. More >>
CGIAR Consortium Research Program 3.5 on Grain Legumes
The CGIAR Consortium Research Program 3.5 on Grain Legumes will: (1) assess molecular diversity among C. reticulatum and C. echinospermum accessions held by CGIAR repositories, and (2) contribute to establishing the genome structure of wild C. reticulatum and C. echinospermum based on long-read sequencing. These molecular tools will facilitate association mapping and introgression breeding for several CRP-GL product line objectives.
Mars Incorporated provided a gift to facilitate genomic and genetic analysis of pre-breeding populations in chickpea. Their investement serves to accelerate trait-marker discovery. The outomes will improve the speed and precision of crop improvement through molecular breeding for key factors important to developing world agriculture. Mars Incorporated funds research to address critical challenges related to food, agriculture and health. For more information, please visit Mars Science and Innovation website and the 2013 Press Release for the announcement detailing the company’s Principles-led approach to business and its commitments.
The 2Blades Foundation provided a gift to work on Fusarium wilt. This new activity combines efforts with Plant Pathologists and Breeders at the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas and the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research. The project aims to understand genomic diversity of the devastating Fusarium wilt pathogen within Ethiopia and to use this information to facilitate breeding of improved chickpea varieties. The funding will also provide support for two Ethiopian PhD students. Link to information about the 2Blades Foundation .
The Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) provided a grant to UC Davis to establish our wild species collection, which has been characterized at the genome level and is now being used for agronomic trait assessment and genetic introgression by our breeding and agronomy teams. GRDC also funds a large, multi-institutional project within Australia, focused on the physiology of drought and plant maturity, nitrogen fixation, nematode resistance and molecular breeding.
The University of Saskatchewan leads a Canadian project sponsored from multiple sources, including grower groups and the regional government. Their efforts emphasize chickpea phenotyping and breeding to address constraints to chickpea production in Canada, including cold tolerance, disease resistance and nutrition. The Canadian group works closely with the U.S. and international teams for germplasm exchange, expanding the project’s capacity to deliver introgression breeding lines globally.