UWA researchers help make breakthrough in high-yield drought-resilient crops

A global study led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and involving scientists from The University of Western Australia has identified genes that can be used to develop drought and heat tolerant chickpeas.

Chickpeas are the third most commonly produced grain legume, however drought and increasing temperatures (heat stress) are estimated to cause the loss of more than 70 per cent of global chickpea yields. It is hoped the research findings will result in the ability to breed more resilient chickpeas – a discovery with important implications for global food security.

Professor Kadambot Siddique from UWA’s Institute of Agriculture said UWA was delighted to be part of a global research effort with important applications for agriculture and the future of the planet. He said: "This is a significant breakthrough. Achieving food security and sustainability for the future is highly important and the results of this study will help Australian and global chickpea breeders develop climate-ready chickpea varieties with improved yield, drought and heat stress tolerance."

The genes identified in the study can help crops tolerate temperatures up to 38 degrees Celsius as well as providing higher yields.

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