Genetic Analysis of Yield and Physiological Traits in Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) under Irrigation and Drought Stress
Implementing appropriate breeding strategies for sunflower, alongside dependable information on heritability and gene effects upon yield and related traits under drought conditions, are all necessary. Thirty sunflower hybrids were produced by line × tester cross of six male-sterile and five restorer lines. Their hybrids were evaluated in three levels of irrigation, as follows: (1) non-stressed plots, irrigated at regular intervals (W1); (2) mild water stress (W2), irrigated from the beginning of the button stage (R4) to seed filling initiation (R6); (3) severe water stress (W3) started from the beginning of button stage (R4) to physiological maturity. Based on observations and specific methods for determination, canopy temperatures, chlorophyll index, relative water content and proline content, were studied by additive effects, under the different irrigation conditions. Canopy temperatures,chlorophyll index, relative water content, leaf water potential, proline content and yield were controlled by additive effects under mild stressed conditions. Under severe stress conditions however, canopy temperatures, leaf water potential and proline content were controlled by additive effects, while chlorophyll index and relative water content were controlled by both additive and dominant effects, as seed yield was mainly influenced by the dominant effects. The narrow sense heritability ranged from 47-97% for all traits, except for chlorophyll fluorescence. Yield correlated positively with chlorophyll index and relative water content, and negatively with canopy temperature and leaf water potential. Therefore, under drought stressed conditions in breeding programs, canopy temperatures, chlorophyll index and relative water content can be reliable criteria for the selection of tolerant genotypes with prospect to higher yields.
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