A new genetically engineered chickpea with high drought tolerance and high iron and zinc content in seeds developed by a team of experts from the Department of Biotechnology's New Delhi-based National Institute of Plant Genome Research, University of Hyderabad and Indian Institute of Pulses Research.
Chickpea is a major source of protein in India. It is planted predominantly in semi-arid areas during post-monsoon season. Thus, developing high-yielding chickpea varieties that can tolerate periodic water-deficit conditions is vital. Improving the mineral content is also necessary for nutritional benefit. Thus, the researchers developed the drought tolerant chickpea variety with high iron and zinc content in the seed by lowering the level of the plant growth substance known as cytokinin in the root.