Wild Species of India

Published: 2021-09-14 06:20:07
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Category: Plants, Asia

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These wild species provide an important reservoir of useful genes for varietal improvement. Their evaluation lead to the identification of promising sources of resistance to several biotic stresses such as stem borer, brown plant hopper, bacterial leaf blight and sheath blight and abiotic stresses (drought and shade tolerance, elongation ability) as well. India is traditionally rich in the diversity of rice including the wild progenitors of cultivated rice. It has been estimated that the total rice germplasm collection on hand of both cultivars and pool of wild species exceeds 70,000 accessions in India (Prasada Rao et. al., 2001).
Wheat is the major staple food for half of the world. Under Triticum group there are 61 species are present in India and these species are belongs to Eulymus (28), Triticum (14), Aegilops (12), Agropyron and Eremopyron (3), Hystrix and Leymys representing each single species (Table 2). (All wheat (Triticum) species are considered as GP1 while all Aegilops are as GP2 and Agropyron complex as GP3 (Singh et al 2005). T. dicoccoides, T. monococcum and T. timopheevi is resistant to Fusarium head-blight (Cai et al 2005), and leaf rust resistant, tolerance to salt and drought (Singh et al 2005, Zaharieva et al 2010; Xie and Nevo 2008), Ageilops is resistance to powdery mildew, leaf-rust, stripe-rust, cyst-nematode; hessian-fly and green bug (Menon and Tomer 2001; Schneider et al 2008), resistant to soil borne wheat spindle-streak mosaic virus (WSSMV), karnal bunt, tolerance to drought, water logging (Nevo and Chen 2010; Khoury et al 2013). Other related genera such as Agropyron, Elymus, Eremopyrum and Leymus, etc are used for exchange of genes directly or through amphidiploidy (Feldman, 1976). Agropyron is used for gene incorporation for increased number of florets and kernels (Wu et al 2006). Elymus is salt tolerant and having resistant genes for Fusarium head-blight (Colmer et al 2006; Zeng et al 3013).It was the Russian botanist N. I. Vavilov who fully recognised and championed the potential of crop wild relatives for crop improvement in the 1920s and 30s, referring to the use of wild Aegilops L., Secale L., Haynaldia Kanitz and Agropyron Gaertn. species in wheat breeding, for example (Vavilov 1949; Maxted et al., 2010). Wheat was well adopted for semi-arid tropics because of its drought tolerance (Howard and Howard 1910; Ellerton 1939; Hutchinson et al. 1976). Aegilops tauschi may be related to the wild progenitor of T. sphaerococcum based on morphology (Bor, 1960). Indian dwarf wheat or shot wheat, Triticum aestivum L. ssp. sphaerococcum is endemic to southern Pakistan and northwestern India (Percival 1921). It is reported together with a naked barley, einkorn wheat, and emmer wheat (Meadow 1996). Archaeological evidences recovered from Harappan historical sites (Vishnu-Mittre and Savithri 1982; Kulshrestha 1985; Pokharia et al. 2009; 2011). This suggests that people in ancient India might have utilized their own dwarfing gene thousands of years before the Green Revolution (Mori et al, 2013).
Job’s tears
Adlay (Coix lacryma-jobi) were domesticated in the wet tropics of north eastern India. It is also grown under shifting cultivation by hill tribes of Khasi people from Assam (Singh and Arora, 1972). It was probably introduced into south East Asia during the expansion of Buddhism from India. It is also possible that adlay was independently domesticated as cereal in India and Philippines (Arora, 1977). The wild adlay (Jobs’ Tears) was used as beads long before the species become a cereal. Fertile female spikelet of wild coix species are individually enclosed by an involucre that is indurated, glossy and from white to black in colour. These are commonly used as beads to make necklaces. The involucres of cultivated adlay are papery, allowing for easy removal of the caryopsis from the fruit cases. It is cultivated throughout the world tropics. The panicles bear attractive, shiny white grains resembling tears and often used ornamentally as beads (Singh and Arora, 1972).
Millet is a collective term referring to a number of small-seeded annual grasses that are cultivated as grain crops, primarily on marginal lands in dry areas in temperate, subtropical and tropical regions. In India, sorghum is seize 67 species and pearl millet having 24 species respectively.
Sorghum is a major cultivated crop after rice, wheat and maize is a staple food for millions of poorest and most food-insecure people in the semi arid tropics (SAT) of Asia and Africa. Sorghum is believed to have originated in Ethiopia and the surrounding countries around 4000-3000 BC (Dhillon et al., 2007) from its wild relatives. The genus sorghum contains five sections: Chaetosorghum, Heterosorghum, Para sorghum, Stiposorghum and Sorghum (De wet, 1978). Section sorghum includes S. bicolour an annual, non-rhizomatous species, which is turn includes both cultivated types and wild and weedy relatives found in Africa and complex of perennial taxa from southern Europe and Asia (De wet, 1978; Duvall and Doebley, 1990).
India is considered as secondary centers of origin sorghum. From India, sorghum spread across tropical Asia into China, where it becomes an important crop after the Mogul conquest (Hagerty, 1940). Sorghum consist 5 basic races i.e., bicolor, caudatum, durra, guinea, kafir (Harlan and de Wet, 1972). It is further divided into 10 sub-races durra caudatum, durra guinea, durra kafir, durra bicolor, caudatum guinea, caudatum kafir, caudatum bicolor, guinea kafir, guinea bicolor and kafir bicolor. Bicolor sorghum has spread over much of the old sorghum growing world being found in India. It is the likely progenitor of the kaoliongs of China (Mann et al 1983). The race guinea arose from bicolor with the possibility of interaction with the wild race arundinaceum more than 2000 years ago. The race caudatum also likely arose from bicolor. The race durra was selected from early bicolor that had moved into India some 3000 years ago with Arab migration, and today it is dominant in India.

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