Development of genetically improved high yielding genotypes urges the knowledge on nature and magnitude of variability present in the available germplasm. Characterization and association among yield components and their direct and indirect effects on the seed yield of 100 sunflower germplasm introduced from U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) were investigated using a simple lattice design during 2012/13 cropping season. The ANOVA results showed significant differences (P<0.05) in all the traits studied among the sunflower germplasm. Out of 100 genotype, 38 were found to be distinctive on the basis of studied traits, two genotypes (PI265499, PI650655) were classed individually while the remaining genotypes were distributed into five clusters. The phenotypic and genotypic variances, correlation, heritability and genetic advances were estimated for grain yield and yield related traits. The highest genotypic and phenotypic variances were observed for plant height (PH), seed yield (YLD), and days to flower (DF) while the lowest were observed for hundred seed weight (HSW), head diameter (HD) and oil content % (OC %). The highest genotypic coefficient of variance was recorded for YLD (31.03) followed by PH (26.20) and OC % (23.74). Broad sense heritability ranged from 63.71 (HSW) to 90.98 (PH). High genetic advance were observed for PH (10013.01), YLD (2227.01), DF (1853.00), and days to mature (DM) (1560.47) indicating the prevalence of additive gene action for inheritance of these traits. Spearman’s coefficient of rank correlation analysis revealed that HD (0.57121**), HSW (0.49039**), DM (0.53312**), DF (0.24103*) and PH (0.5491**) had maximum direct effect resulted positively and significantly (P<0.01) correlated with YLD. These traits can be used to improve the grain yield of sunflower.
This study is one of very few studies which have investigated the genetic, phenotypic and environmental variances of sunflower germplasm collection from various sources of origin. The outputs of this study help breeders for easy selection and promotion of germplasms for further study and extrapolation of genes of superior characters in yield improvement.
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