You probably don't often think of chickpeas — sometimes called garbanzo beans — even when you're digging into some humus. And you likely think of the wild chickpea even less. But it's the primary source of protein for about one in five people around the globe, which is why one UVM biologist is turning to wild strains of the legume to keep the chickpea population healthy.
It's a difficult crop to grow, it faces threats of blight and root rot and lacks robust genetic diversity. It's these challenges to the chickpea that has led Eric Bishop von Wettberg, a plant biologist at UVM, to look for answers.
He discussed with Vermont Edition the challenges the domestic chickpea faces and how he's hoping that crossing it with the wild chickpea will help the crop.
Broadcast live on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.