Associated with: Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey; National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi, India
Zn deficiency is widespread in traditional areas of chickpea cultivation worldwide. It limits chickpea productivity and causes significant losses to economies of the world’s largest chickpea exporters, such as Turkey. The project briefly described below can contribute to the improvement of chickpea cultivation on Zn-depleted soils in an environmentally sustainable manner, namely, via development of genotypes with superior symbiotic performance under Zn-limited conditions. The broader goal of this project, however, is to unravel molecular basis of Zn-use efficiency, symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) efficiency, and of these two traits combined. This can be achieved via a large-scale transcriptional analysis based on the next-generation sequencing of whole sample RNA (RNAseq). In the first phase of the project, we would like to perform a screening for identification of a few chickpea genotypes with maximal differences in their SNF performance under Zn-limited conditions. In the second phase, such genotypes may be selected for the RNAseq sample preparation. This phase should include four groups of plants: two most sensitive and two most tolerant genotypes grown in parallel at Zn-deplete and Zn-replete conditions. After the assembly of the RNAseq data, genes differentially expressed at Zn-deplete conditions, but showing comparable expression at normal Zn levels, can be subjected to functional analysis and transfer to commercially important chickpea genotypes.