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Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.) Genetics and Breeding for Rapid Genetic Gains

  • S. Ramesh
  • T. V. Krishna
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Abstract

Finger millet is one of the most ancient cereal staple crops in the world. It is predominantly grown in rain-fed ecosystems of arid and semi-arid tropics of Africa and Asia. It supports millions of people living in relatively dry regions of Africa and Asia. Its excellent storability for several years under ambient conditions makes it an ideal crop for famine reserves. Low glycemic index and absence of gluten in the grain makes finger millet an ideal food for diabetic patients or those prone to diabetics, a deadly degenerative malady. Further, due to low protein efficiency ratio value, it is an antidote for obesity. Conventional phenotype-based breeding has led to significant genetic gains. Further enhancement of its economic value through development of stable and widely adapted high-yielding varieties is expected to offer competitive edge to finger millet over other comparable cereals to enable its popularity and wider cultivation. However, it requires the use of genomic resources such as DNA markers, candidate genes, and transcription factors to implement different forms of marker-assisted selection like F2 enrichment, marker-assisted recurrent and genomic selections, and genome editing to enhance pace and efficiency of breeding finger millet. The objective of this chapter is to discuss the origin, economic importance, status of germplasm and its characterization and evaluation, cytogenetics, genetics of qualitative and quantitative traits, breeding for resistance to biotic production constraints, especially blast disease, and the use of genomic resources for enhancing the pace and precision of breeding finger millet for higher productivity.

Keywords

Cytogenetics Finger millet Genetics Genomic resources Genomic selection 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Ramesh
    • 1
  • T. V. Krishna
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Agricultural SciencesBengaluruIndia

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