Effects of colchicine and its application in cowpea improvements: review paper

Diriba Shanko

<p style="margin-left:8.1pt;">Availability of genetic diversity and genetic variation is the heart of any breeding program which plays a critical role in developing, well-adapted and improved varieties. Where genetic diversity is insufficient in cowpea, new material needs to be accessed or new variation can be created through induced mutation. Chemical mutagenesis has been a beneficial technique in the improvement of yield characters in crop breeding which has low genetic variability. Mutation breeding has been successful in many crop species but least applied in legumes like cowpea. It has also been exploited to enhance genetic variability in cowpea (<em>Vigna unquiculata</em> L. Walp.); as it is an important legume in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Mutation breeding is regarded to be a shortcut breeding technique, which has produced new and high yielding varieties through heritable changes in genetic constitution of characters in some leguminous crops. Colchicines treatment produced shortened internodes, deformed leaves, and chlorophyll mutants in different crop plants. It has the capacity of inducing polyploidy; especially tetraploid on seeds of cowpea, which obviously could be harnessed for further breeding and improvement of the cowpea. This paper aims to review the effects of colchicines on agronomic parameters of cowpea.</p>

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