Crop Improvement in Pulses


The Crop Improvement Division was established in the VIII Plan when the Directorate of Pulses Research attained the status of Indian Institute of Pulses Research on 5th September 1993. However, research efforts on breeding improved varieties of pulses were initiated with the establishment of Directorate of Pulses Research in 1984. The Division encompasses a broad range of activities from basic studies on plant genomes to the development of improved varieties. The Division includes plant breeding, genetics & cytogenetics and molecular breeding till 2012. In addition, plant genetic resource management and quality seed production are integral parts of the Division. The mandate crops are chickpea, pigeon pea, mung bean, urad bean, lentil, field pea, raj mash and Lathyrus.


Thrust areas

  • Exploitation of heterosis in pigeon pea.
  • Integrated approach for genetic enhancement through pre-breeding
  • Development of suitable plant types for different agroecological conditions
  • Genomics-enabled pulse crops improvement
  • Breeding for tolerance to drought & temperature extremities
  • Breeding for improved quality
  • Plant genetic resources management
  • Maintenance breeding & breeder seed production

Crop wise priority areas


  • Genetic enhancement and pre-breeding for yield enhancement and broadening the genetic base of existing cultivars.
  • Pyramiding of genes conferring resistance to fusarium wilt and dry root rot through integrated plant breeding approach).
  • Development of heat and moisture stress tolerant varieties (QTLs identification for drought, mechanism of heat tolerance etc.).
  • Development of chickpea varieties suitable for mechanical harvesting and post emergence herbicide tolerance.


  • Exploitation of heterosis and development of commercial CGMS based hybrids.
  • Development of improved varieties possessing resistance to major biotic and abiotic stresses, and genetic enhancement through pre-breeding in long duration pigeonpea.
  • Development of early maturing varieties insulated against pod fly damage.


  • High yielding varieties with sympodial bearing (soybean type), green or black seeds, possessing resistance against yellow mosaic virus and Cercospora leaf spot.
  • Development of high-yielding, MYMIV/MYMV and Cercospora leaf spot resistant varieties for spring/summer seasons.


  • Genetic improvement for grain yield and diseases resistance in short maturity background for spring/summer season.
  • Development of medium-short duration, non-shattering varieties tolerating pre-harvest sprouting and resistant to major diseases for Kharif and rabi season.


  • High yielding varieties possessing resistance to fusarium wilt, rust and stem phyllium blight, and combining higher biomass and early maturity for rice-fallow and utera cultivation.

Field pea

  • Genetic improvement for grain yield by combining higher biomass, stiff stem and few leaflets traits besides powdery mildew and rust resistance.

Research strategies

  • Pre-breeding efforts to break yield ceiling and broaden the genetic base.
  • Development of mapping populations for targeted traits in major pulse crops.
  • Mapping and tagging of genes and MAS for insulating varieties against major diseases.
  • Identification of QTLs for improving grain yield and quality traits.
  • Sharing segregating material, donors, germplasm and improved breeding lines with AICRP centres.
  • Utilization of off-season nurseries for rapid generation advancement.
  • Diverting sincere efforts in basic and strategic research that will ultimately give high-yielding varieties/improved breeding lines/research papers/improved methodologies and a better understanding of mechanisms in view of climate change. Allele mining of genes of agricultural importance.
  • Harnessing international/national collaborations for the development of feasible methodologies and Human Resource Development in frontier areas of research.
  • Maintenance breeding to ensure availability of quality seeds.




  • Indian Institute of Pulses Research
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