Rosy Raman1, Neroli Graham2, Jess Simpson1, Annie Warren2, Sean Bithell2, Dave Wheeler3, Laney Davidson2, Mark Richards1, Kristy Hobson2
1NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia email@example.com
2NSW Department of Primary Industries, 4 Marsden Park Rd, Tamworth, NSW 2340, Australia
3NSW Department of Primary Industries, 1447 Forest Road, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is grown under diverse environments in Australia and often faces various yield limiting abiotic stresses such as low (chilling) temperatures, drought and heat during the reproductive phase. Understanding the genetic control of flowering time, a key adaptive trait is essential for wider adaptation and productivity of chickpea varieties. Currently, our knowledge on the genetic control of flowering time in Australian chickpea varieties is very limited. We utilised two recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations; RB (derived from an early flowering variety, Rupali and late flowering interspecific breeding line (a backcross derivative from Cicer echinospermum), 04067-81-2-1-1) and YB (derived from mid-flowering variety, Yorker and 04067-81-2-1-1). The RB RIL population was evaluated under two sowing times (early and mid-season) at Tamworth and the YB population was evaluated at Wagga Wagga in 2018 to identify genomic regions (quantitative trait loci: QTL) controlling flowering time. One significant QTL was identified on chromosome Ca5 in the RB RIL population and explained up to 16.8% and 11.9% of the phenotypic variation for flowering time in an early and mid-season sowing time, respectively. In the YB RIL population, two significant QTL were identified on chromosomes Ca4 and Ca8 and explained 9.6% and 11.2% of the phenotypic variation. We have also identified that the Australian chickpea varieties Rupali, Sonali and Sona carry the mutated form of the early flowering ELF3 gene on Ca5 (caelf3a). Markers associated with the QTL for early and mid-flowering will accelerate the development of varieties suitable for a wider range of growing environments.