Legumes are one of the most valuable gifts of nature to man, animal, and environment. These are sustainable, affordable, water-efficient, and low-carbon footprint crop. Globally, the share of grain legume accessions is 15% of 7.4 million accessions conserved in genebanks, of which more than half of germplasm in genebanks are without characterization and evaluation data which ultimately limit the utilization of germplasm in legume improvement programs. Characterization of all genebank accessions should be of utmost priority for enhancing the utilization. The development of core, mini-core, reference sets, and trait-specific germplasm has provided route to crop breeders for mining genebanks. Identification of new sources of variation became easy with these subsets, but the entire collection also needs to be evaluated for unique and rare traits. In crop species with narrow genetic base, utilization of crop wild relatives as well as new resources aids to widen the genetic base of legume cultigens.
Part of the book: Legume Crops