Morphological Variation and Inter-Relationships of Quantitative Traits in Enset (Ensete ventricosum (welw.) Cheesman) Germplasm from South and South-Western Ethiopia
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Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is Ethiopia's most important root crop. A total of 387 accessions collected from nine different regions of Ethiopia were evaluated for 15 quantitative traits at Areka Agricultural Research Centre to determine the extent and pattern of distribution of morphological variation. The variations among the accessions and regions were significant (p ≤ 0.01) for all the 15 traits studied. Mean for plant height, central shoot weight before grating, and fermented squeezed kocho yield per hectare per year showed regional variation along an altitude gradient and across cultural differences related to the origin of the collection. Furthermore, there were significant correlations among most of the characters. This included the correlation among agronomic characteristics of primary interest in enset breeding such as plant height, pseudostem height, and fermented squeezed kocho yield per hectare per year. Altitude of the collection sites also significantly impacted the various characteristics studied. These results reveal the existence of significant phenotypic variations among the 387 accessions as a whole. Regional differentiations were also evident among the accessions. The implication of the current results for plant breeding, germplasm collection, and in situ and ex situ genetic resource conservation are discussed.
This study was part of the PhD research work of the first author, and we acknowledge the McKnight Foundation for financial support.
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Vol. 6 (4), article 56
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