Dharti Agro Chemicals launched 1st Genetic Male Sterility (GMS) based cowpea (Lobia) hybrids and three cowpea hybrids namely.
They have given remarkable results to the farmers with 10 percent heterosis in the regular Kharif season and up to 20-25 percent heterosis in the off-season. This is almost double the profit in comparison to traditional varieties.
Genetic Male Sterility (GMS) :
Genetic Male Sterility is the result of a combination of mitochondrial genes with nuclear genes or by a combination of only nuclear genes. The conditions may lead to cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) and Genetic Male sterility (GMS).
- Hybrid seeds are produced by using CMS and GMS for various crops thus enabling the breeders to take advantage of yield associated with heterosis (hybrid vigour).
- In CMS, male specificity, occurrence and fertility restoration are regulated by layers of interaction between mitochondrial and nuclear genes.
- Epigenetic control by non-coding RNAs may be caused due to Environment- sensitive GMS (EGMS) mutants. Also, they can revert to fertility depending on different growing conditions, and this is the reason why they are useful breeding materials for the hybrid seed industry.
Cowpea is a rich source of protein and some trace elements. It has the ability to fix nitrogen and also helps in carbon sequestration and soil amelioration. This nature of cowpea helps in the reduction of the contribution of agriculture towards the volume of plant protection products usage which indirectly helps in improving and sustaining soil health. Cowpea hybrids are very suitable for off-season cultivation and are not sensitive to photoperiod. Heterosis breeding enhances the entire crop physiology by exploiting the sum of all beneficial genes and their interactions, resulting in higher yields, better disease resistance, wider adaptability, better fruit quality and more effective response to fertigation.