Identifying Genetic Sources of High Nutritive Value in a Panel of American Southern Pea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) Germplasm

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2023: $16,368.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Tennessee State University
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Matthew Blair
Tennessee State University


  • Vegetables: peas (culinary)


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, plant breeding and genetics

    Proposal abstract:

    Southern pea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) is an important part of the diet of some subpopulations of the southeastern United States. These communities and demographics within these communities experience malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. This study will attempt to identify genetic resources in a panel of 192 American southern pea accessions previously genotyped under low-input conditions. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) will be used to quantify the micronutrient content of grains, and plants will be grown under field greenhouse conditions for two consecutive years to evaluate the heritability of these traits. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers generated in this population will be used to find quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with micronutrient content in grains, particularly iron, zinc, and magnesium. Candidate genes will be identified and testing/development of single sequence repeat (SSR) or Kompetitive Allele Specific PCR (KASP) markers associated with causal QTLs for the accumulation of these micronutrients.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1: Identify American southern pea cultivars or landraces with high micronutrient content and evaluate the biofortification potential for iron, magnesium, and zinc in this population grown with low-inputs.

    Objective 2: Identify causal quantitative trait loci and/or genes in American southern pea germplasm associated with high levels of the iron, magnesium, and zinc.

    Objective 3:  Validate SNPs/QTLs/genes associated with seed micronutrient content using SSR or KASP markers and evaluate their potential use in breeding programs.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.