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1.  Groundnut improvement: use of genetic and genomic tools 
Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.), a self-pollinated legume is an important crop cultivated in 24 million ha world over for extraction of edible oil and food uses. The kernels are rich in oil (48–50%) and protein (25–28%), and are source of several vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, biologically active polyphenols, flavonoids, and isoflavones. Improved varieties of groundnut with high yield potential were developed and released for cultivation world over. The improved varieties belong to different maturity durations and possess resistance to diseases, tolerance to drought, enhanced oil content, and improved quality traits for food uses. Conventional breeding procedures along with the tools for phenotyping were largely used in groundnut improvement programs. Mutations were used to induce variability and wide hybridization was attempted to tap variability from wild species. Low genetic variability has been a bottleneck for groundnut improvement. The vast potential of wild species, reservoir of new alleles remains under-utilized. Development of linkage maps of groundnut during the last decade was followed by identification of markers and quantitative trait loci for the target traits. Consequently, the last decade has witnessed the deployment of molecular breeding approaches to complement the ongoing groundnut improvement programs in USA, China, India, and Japan. The other potential advantages of molecular breeding are the feasibility to target multiple traits for improvement and provide tools to tap new alleles from wild species. The first groundnut variety developed through marker-assisted back-crossing is a root-knot nematode-resistant variety, NemaTAM in USA. The uptake of molecular breeding approaches in groundnut improvement programs by NARS partners in India and many African countries is slow or needs to be initiated in part due to inadequate infrastructure, high genotyping costs, and human capacities. Availability of draft genome sequence for diploid (AA and BB) and tetraploid, AABB genome species of Arachis in coming years is expected to bring low-cost genotyping to the groundnut community that will facilitate use of modern genetics and breeding approaches such as genome-wide association studies for trait mapping and genomic selection for crop improvement.
PMCID: PMC3580887  PMID: 23443056
Arachis hypogaea; genetic variability; pedigree; disease resistance; phenotyping; QTLs; molecular breeding; genomic selection
2.  Quantitative trait locus analysis and construction of consensus genetic map for drought tolerance traits based on three recombinant inbred line populations in cultivated groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) 
Molecular Breeding  2011;30(2):757-772.
Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important food and cash crop grown mainly in semi-arid tropics (SAT) regions of the world where drought is the major constraint on productivity. With the aim of understanding the genetic basis and identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for drought tolerance, two new recombinant inbred line (RIL) mapping populations, namely ICGS 76 × CSMG 84-1 (RIL-2) and ICGS 44 × ICGS 76 (RIL-3), were used. After screening of 3,215 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers on the parental genotypes of these populations, two new genetic maps were developed with 119 (RIL-2) and 82 (RIL-3) SSR loci. Together with these maps and the reference map with 191 SSR loci based on TAG 24 × ICGV 86031 (RIL-1), a consensus map was constructed with 293 SSR loci distributed over 20 linkage groups, spanning 2,840.8 cM. As all these three populations segregate for drought-tolerance-related traits, a comprehensive QTL analysis identified 153 main effect QTL (M-QTL) and 25 epistatic QTL (E-QTL) for drought-tolerance-related traits. Localization of these QTL on the consensus map provided 16 genomic regions that contained 125 QTL. A few key genomic regions were selected on the basis of the QTL identified in each region, and their expected role in drought adaptation is also discussed. Given that no major QTL for drought adaptation were identified, novel breeding approaches such as marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) and genomic selection (GS) approaches are likely to be the preferred approaches for introgression of a larger number of QTL in order to breed drought-tolerant groundnut genotypes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11032-011-9660-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3410028  PMID: 22924017
Peanut; Drought tolerance; Consensus map; QTL analysis; Main-effect QTL; Epistatic QTL; Molecular breeding
3.  Identification of several small main-effect QTLs and a large number of epistatic QTLs for drought tolerance related traits in groundnut (Arachishypogaea L.) 
Cultivated groundnut or peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.), an allotetraploid (2n = 4x = 40), is a self pollinated and widely grown crop in the semi-arid regions of the world. Improvement of drought tolerance is an important area of research for groundnut breeding programmes. Therefore, for the identification of candidate QTLs for drought tolerance, a comprehensive and refined genetic map containing 191 SSR loci based on a single mapping population (TAG 24 × ICGV 86031), segregating for drought and surrogate traits was developed. Genotyping data and phenotyping data collected for more than ten drought related traits in 2–3 seasons were analyzed in detail for identification of main effect QTLs (M-QTLs) and epistatic QTLs (E-QTLs) using QTL Cartographer, QTLNetwork and Genotype Matrix Mapping (GMM) programmes. A total of 105 M-QTLs with 3.48–33.36% phenotypic variation explained (PVE) were identified using QTL Cartographer, while only 65 M-QTLs with 1.3–15.01% PVE were identified using QTLNetwork. A total of 53 M-QTLs were such which were identified using both programmes. On the other hand, GMM identified 186 (8.54–44.72% PVE) and 63 (7.11–21.13% PVE), three and two loci interactions, whereas only 8 E-QTL interactions with 1.7–8.34% PVE were identified through QTLNetwork. Interestingly a number of co-localized QTLs controlling 2–9 traits were also identified. The identification of few major, many minor M-QTLs and QTL × QTL interactions during the present study confirmed the complex and quantitative nature of drought tolerance in groundnut. This study suggests deployment of modern approaches like marker-assisted recurrent selection or genomic selection instead of marker-assisted backcrossing approach for breeding for drought tolerance in groundnut.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-010-1517-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3057011  PMID: 21191568
Peanut; Drought tolerance; Genetic map; Molecular markers; Main-effect QTLs; Epistatic QTLs; Molecular breeding

Results 1-4 (4)