Assessment of Genetic Diversity of Promising Castor Bean (Ricinus communis L.) Genotypes in Nigeria
Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis L.) is an important oil crop with little research attention in Nigeria. In the present research, extent of genetic diversity among 20 Nigerian castor genotypes was determined using morphological descriptors and molecular markers. The genotypes were laid out on a randomized complete block design with three replicated plots. Molecular genotyping of the genotypes was carried out using genomic Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR). The genotypes revealed high divergence in seed colour, seed shape, seed mottle, seed caruncle and seed sizes. Seedling establishment varied from 70.18% (in Acc. 006) to 93.25% (Acc. 001) with average mean of 81.53%. Raceme length ranged from 15.90 cm to 29.54 cm with population mean of 20.80 cm. The highest seed yield (1222.98 kg/ha) was recorded in Acc. 001 and the least (611.46 kg/ha) was observed in Acc. 006. Seed oil content varied between 32.15% in Acc. 042 and 54.03% in Acc. 006. Agglomerative cluster dendrogram constructed from morphological data showed random distribution of the genotypes into three cluster groups irrespective of the sources/collection points. The genetic diversity based on SSR Marker Analysis revealed high average expected heterozygosity (0.74), Polymorphic information content (0.68), Neiâ€™s gene diversity index (0.72) and Shannon's Information index (1.43). The dendrogram constructed from molecular data grouped the twenty genotypes into three groups at coefficient of 0.34. From these findings, it showed that the twenty genotypes evaluated are divergent in nature and they could serve as good genetic material for castor breeding in Nigeria.
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