a1 Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5A8
a2 NordGen – Nordic Genetic Resource Center, Smedjevägen 3, Box 41, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
a3 Genetics and Biotechnology Lab, The All-Russian Research Institute of Grain Legumes and Groat Crops, P/b Streletskoye, Orel 302502, Russia
Extensive collections of lentil germplasm now exist in various genebanks around the world. This germplasm including wild Lens species has been used in plant introduction strategies and in efforts to widen the potential sources of increasing genetic diversity in the breeding programmes of lentil. Improved techniques are emerging to overcome hybridization barriers between species and as a result, interspecific hybrids have been successfully obtained between species. Several interspecific recombinant inbred line populations have been developed. Selected and backcrossed lentil lines are currently in advanced yield trial stages, and desirable traits such as yield, disease resistance and agronomic traits have been incorporated into cultivated lentil especially from Lens ervoides, generating a wider spectrum of variability. Secondly, further expansion of the overall pool of germplasm and examination of allelic variation at the nucleotide level will benefit lentil-breeding programmes by augmenting phenotype-based variation to further advance cultivar development. Genomic resources for lentil are limited now, but this situation is changing rapidly as the cost of genotyping has declined. As a result, two successive expressed sequence tags (EST) projects were undertaken under the NAPGEN EST project initiative (http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/programs/pbi/plant-products/napgen/.htm) and an Agricultural Development Fund project initiative. We emphasize that creation of intraspecific and interspecific genetic populations, genetic maps, association maps, quantitative trait loci and marker-assisted selection technologies for implementation in the breeding programme will enhance deployment of genes responsible for traits of interest. The economical use of genomic technologies for use in germplasm resource management and genetic improvement is on the near horizon.