Scientific Discovery Could Revolutionize One of World's Most Important Crops
Conservation geneticist wants to arm Ethiopian and Indian farmers with revolutionary new varieties of chickpea. A team of researchers, including FIU biology professor Eric von Wettberg, has identified the gene responsible for giving white chickpea its light seed and flower color. This genetic finding can help breeders create varieties of chickpea that will fare better against debilitating diseases, yield a higher number of seeds on the same amount land, and fetch a higher price per seed.
In developing countries in Africa and Asia, farmers earn more money for selling light chickpea for their desired appearance and thin seed coats that are easier to cook. This can be problematic for farmers depending on chickpea for their livelihoods because dark chickpea is often more resistant to diseases and growing it yields a greater yield of seeds.