Evaluation of the Genetic Variation of Cowpea Landraces (Vigna unguiculata) from Western Cameroon Using Qualitative Traits
Characterization of the genetic diversity and analysis of the genetic relationship between accessions of a crop species is a key step in breeding superior cultivars. The main objective of the hereby study was to determine the genetic variation between 30 cowpea accessions collected throughout the eight divisions of the Western Region of Cameroon using qualitative traits. Phenotypic variation of these accessions was evaluated using diversity indices and cluster analyses. A total of twenty qualitative traits were used for the study. Fifteen of them (75%) were polymorphic, displaying each at least two phenotypic classes. The monomorphic characters were growth pattern, leaf color, leaf hairiness, plant hairiness and pod hairiness, each with only one phenotypic class. Results showed a relatively significant level of genetic diversity among the studied cowpea accessions. Overall, the average of the observed and effective number of phenotypic classes per qualitative trait were Na = 2.350 and Ne = 1.828 respectively. The Nei’s genetic diversity and the Shannon weaver diversity index were He = 0.369, ranging from zero (monomorphic trait) to 0.655 (growth habit) and H’ = 0.609, ranging from zero (monomorphic trait) to 0.996 (seed crowding), respectively. The dendrogram constructed from the twenty qualitative traits revealed 05 accessions clusters with the number of accessions in each cluster varying from one to eleven. Information obtained from this study is likely be useful for future cowpea breeding program.
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