Characterization of barnyard millet (Echinocloa frumentaceae (Roxb.) Link) germplasm for quantitative traits to enhance its utilization
Barnyard millet, Echinochloa sp. is one of the important small millet crops used as food and fodder crop. Utilization of diverse germplasm is important in breeding programme to improve yield of the crop. In the present study, 494 barnyard millet germplasm were characterized using multivariate traits. Wide variation was observed for most of the traits indicated the scope of importance of these characters by direct selection. Phenotypic correlation between grain yield per plant was in significantly positive association with days to 50% flowering, plant height, the number of productive tillers, days to maturity and straw weight whereas, it was negatively associated with length of peduncle. Principle component analysis showed that the first two components contributed about 64% of the total variability. The proportions of the total variance attributed to the first two principle components were 43% and 20% respectively. The characters days to 50% flowering, plant height, days to maturity and straw weight were the most important traits contributing to the total variance in the first two principle components, indicating their importance for the characterization of barnyard millet germplasm accessions and these traits could be effectively used for future breeding programmes to create more variability. K means clustering method based on 7 quantitative traits among 494 barnyard millet germplasm was able to separate and grouped them into 23 clusters. Crossing accessions belonging to different clusters would maximize opportunities for transgressive segregation because of the higher probability that unrelated genotypes will contribute unique desirable alleles at multiple loci. Variability present in barnyard millet germplasm can be effectively used for the selection of specific donor lines for improvement of barnyard millet.
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