Genetic divergence studies in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L). R. Br)
The present investigation was conducted to evaluate the genetic divergence among fifty pearl millet germplasms using Mahalanobis D2 statistics for fourteen different traits. Analysis of variance indicated considerable diversity among genotypes showing significant variability for all the characters. D2 clustering grouped the genotypes into sixteen clusters. The maximum (191.2) inter-cluster distance was observed between cluster XV and XVI followed by clusters V and XV (144.9), clusters X and XV (139.7), clusters XIII and XV (137.8), clusters XI and XV (120.2) and clusters VI and XVI (117.3). The genotypes PPBI-04 from cluster XI, PPBI-34 from cluster V, PPBI-38 from cluster XVI and PPBI-39 from cluster IX were considered on the basis of higher inter-cluster distances and superior performance for yield and yield contributing characters. Though the inter-cluster distances of cluster I with other clusters were low, PPBI-31 and PPBI-44 from cluster I were selected based on high grain yield and important yield contributing characters. Hybridization among these genotypes produces heterotic combinations for improving grain yield per plant. Inclusion of genotypes, PPBI-34 and PPBI-44 in the crossing programme would produce drought-tolerant varieties as they were found superior for SPAD chlorophyll meter reading at 45 DAS.
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