Diversity among African Pearl Millet Landrace Populations uri icon


  • Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) is widely grown inarid to semi-arid regions of Africa. The crop is particularly adaptedto Sahelian West Africa where landraces have evolved in differentecological niches. These landraces have accumulated interpopulationdiversity that has not been characterized. Evaluation of genetic diversityis a prerequisite for successful germplasm exploitation throughbreeding. The objective of this study was to characterize morphologicaland agronomic variability among African landrace populations ofpearl millet. Ten pearl millet landrace populations widely grown inseveral African countries and two experimental Fi hybrids were evaluatedat two locations in Niger during the 1989 rainy season. Thirteencharacters (downy mildew (Sderospora graminicola (Sacc.) Schroet)incidence, days to flowering, primary spike length, peduncle exsertion,spike girth, flag leaf width, stem diameter, spike number per plant,non-productive tillers per plant, plant height, spike yield per plot,grain yield per plot, and 1000-seed weight) were measured on sixreplicates of each landrace populations. In the pooled analysis, alllandrace populations were significantly different for one or more ofthe characters evaluated. The Niger landrace populations showedmuch less variation than the other African landrace populations formost characters investigated. Ward's cluster and principal componentanalyses were used to investigate the nature and degree of divergencein the landrace populations. The cluster analyses revealed similaritiesbetween Niger and Senegal and between Niger and Nigerian landracepopulations. Four principal components were found to explain 92%of the total variation. Days to flowering, plant height, stem diameter,primary spike length, and grain and spike yield per plot were themajor sources of diversity among the landrace populations. Theseresults could be useful in choosing potentially heterotic pearl milletpopulations for intercrossing to develop improved cultivars, synthetics,and hybrids for use in Africa

publication date

  • 1995