Quantitative-genetic parameters of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] grown in semi-arid areas of Kenya uri icon

abstract

  • Low and erratic rainfall constitutes a major constraint to sorghum production, and impedes sorghum improvement in semi-arid tropics. To estimate quantitative-genetic parameters for sorghum under variable stress conditions, three sets of factorial crosses between four by four lines each were grown with parents and a local cultivar in eight macro-environments in semi-arid areas of Kenya. Fourteen traits were recorded including grain yield, above-ground drymatter, harvest index, days to anthesis, leaf rolling score, and stay-green. Environmental means for grain yield ranged from 167 to 595 g m-2. Mean hybrid superiority over mid-parent values was 47, 31, and 9% for grain yield, above-ground drymatter, and harvest index, respectively. Differences among both lines and hybrids were highly significant for all traits. Genotype × environment interaction variances were larger than genotypic variances for grain yield, above-ground drymatter, and harvest index. Corresponding heritabilities ranged between 0.72 and 0.84. Variation among hybrids was determined by GCA and SCA effects for most characters. Predominance of additive-genetic effects was found for grain yield components, plant height, and leaf rolling score. Lack of variation in GCA was noted among female lines for major performance traits. While low leaf rolling score was correlated with high grain yield, there was no such association for stay-green. Hybrid breeding could contribute to sorghum improvement for semi-arid areas of Kenya. To increase selection progress for major performance traits, genetic variation among female lines should be enhanced. Importance of genotype × environment interaction underlines the necessity of evaluating breeding materials under a broad range of dryland conditions

publication date

  • 1999
  • 1999