MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF BAMBARA GROUNDNUT, AN UNDERUTILISED AFRICAN LEGUME CROP AS PART OF THE BAMLINK PROJECT - WHAT LESSONS CAN WE LEARN?
Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranean L. Verdc.) is an underutilised, drought tolerant legume that has the potential to form an important part of Food Security for the coming decades. The challenges facing farmers to produce enough food for the growing world population particularly that of climatic instability are well documented and together represent probably one of the biggest challenges humanity has faced. Our extreme reliance on a limited number of staple (often non-indigenous and sometimes also poorly adapted) crops represents a clear vulnerability. This can be partly reduced by the development of alternative crops. These currently underutilised crops often have beneficial characteristics not found in conventional main crops and if these traits address either biotic or abiotic stresses in a sustainable way, then there is the potential for agricultural diversification. There are a number of stumbling blocks to developing such crops, including; poor yields, unadapted crop features, limited processing knowledge, few value-added products, poorly developed transport chains and markets, negative cultural perceptions and little perceived profit margin for commercial breeders. An integrated approach is needed to begin to address these problems. As part of this, we have focused on the application of molecular genetics to Bambara groundnut and the opportunities to exploit knowledge from other species, new technologies and new approaches, to establish a framework for genetic improvement through breeding. We also try to draw out lessons from our work in Bambara groundnut which may be relevant in other underutilised species, to try to contribute to the development of a generic approach (and hopefully, a faster and cheaper approach) to tackling these same questions in other underutilised species. In this paper we ask what is the fundamental information we need about the breeding system of an underutilised species and how could this alter our genetic improvement, using Bambara groundnut as an example.
Mayes, S., Basu, S.M., Molosiwa, O., Redjeki, E.S., Ahmad, N.S., Khan, F., Zehra, S., Noah, S., Mayes, K., Roberts, J., Stadler, F., Massawe, F., Kilian, A. and Azam-Ali, S. (2013). MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF BAMBARA GROUNDNUT, AN UNDERUTILISED AFRICAN LEGUME CROP AS PART OF THE BAMLINK PROJECT - WHAT LESSONS CAN WE LEARN?. Acta Hortic. 979, 451-458
Vigna subterranean L. Verc., underutilised crops, domestication, molecular markers, breeding