Scientists in Australia have presented an AI-based model that has improved yields of chickpea. Researchers believe it will help cope with hunger in some regions of the world.

An international team of scientists conducted research using an AI-based algorithm and developed a genetic model for the “perfect chickpea” – its yield increased by 12%. A research consortium has genetically mapped thousands of chickpea varieties, and a team of scientists then used this information to identify the most valuable gene combinations using artificial intelligence (AI).

“Most crop species have only a few varieties sequenced, so we analyzed more than 3,000 cultivated and wild varieties,” the researchers noted. “We then identified 1,582 new genes and created the chickpea pan-genome, which will serve as the basis for the development of superior chickpea varieties with increased yields, resistance to drought, heat and disease.”

Prof Hayes said the team used the data to model chickpeas with ideal seed weight genetics, a trait associated with yield. Additional data has already led to higher yields, but they will continue to work on the model to increase yields even more.

“We are using our FastStack AI technology platform to develop chickpeas with ideal genetics for maximum seed weights, and we think this will ultimately be a valuable tool for breeders.”

FastStack combines AI and genomic prediction technology to identify the gene combinations that are most likely to improve crop productivity.

Chickpeas are one of the most popular legumes, the second largest by area and third most produced among legumes worldwide. Breeder and crop geneticist Associate Professor Lee Hickey said the global demand for protein-rich legumes is growing.

“Using this AI-generated variation of chickpeas to increase seed weights in the field will be challenging given the number of generations it will take to breed and obtain optimal chickpea genetics, and the impact of different conditions and management methods on crop growth,” the scientists added.