Sustainable agricultural productivity is hampered by over-dependency on major staple crops, neglect and underutilization of others, climate change, as well as land deterioration. Challenges posed by these limiting factors are undoubtedly contributing to global food insecurity, increased rural poverty, and malnutrition in the less developed countries. Miscellaneous neglected and underutilized grain legumes (MNUGLs) are crops primarily characterized by inherent features and capabilities to withstand the effects of abiotic stress and climate change, significantly replenish the soil, as well as boost food and protein security. This chapter provides insight into the benefits of MNUGLs as food and nutritional security climate smart crops, capable of growing on marginal lands. Exploring and improving MNUGLs depend on a number of factors among which are concerted research efforts, cultivation and production, as well as utilization awareness across global populace geared toward reawakening the interest on the abandoned legumes. The emergence of the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR/cas9) technology combined with marker-assisted selection (MAS) offers great opportunities to improve MNUGLs for sustainable utilization. Advances in improvement of MNUGLs using omic technologies and the prospects for their genetic modification were highlighted and discussed.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Grain Crops Research