Authors: FAWAD ALI, ABDURRAHİM YILMAZ, HASSAN JAVED CHAUDHARY, MUHAMMAD AZHAR NADEEM, MALIK ASHIQ RABBANI, YUSUF ARSLAN, MUHAMMAD AMJAD NAWAZ, EPHREM HABYARIMANA, FAHEEM SHEHZAD BALOCH
Abstract: Developing high yielding safflower cultivars with good adaptation to diverse environmental conditions can improve production in terms of seed yield and reduce the deficiency in edible oil. The genetic variability that exists among and within populations for desirable agronomic traits can be used to develop elite cultivars. A total of 94 safflower accessions from 26 different countries were used in this study to evaluate morphoagronomic performance, determine the pattern of similarity centers, and identify the best performing accessions by conducting 2 field experiments in Pakistan and Turkey using augmented design. Genetic diversity for important yield and yield traits was described including capitulum diameter (17.30 to 28.30 mm), branches per plant (5.10 to 17.30), capitula per plant (8.70 to 80.40), and seed yield per plant (4.86 to 51.02 g). These analyses showed a good level of variation in the current study. Using principal component analysis, it was observed that days to flower initiation, days to 50% flowering, days to flower completion, seed yield per plant, capitula per plant, branches per plant, seeds per capitulum, and capitulum diameter were the major contributors to the observed genetic variability in the evaluated safflower panel. Seed yield per plant reflected a significant and positive correlation with capitula per plant, branches per plant, and capitulum diameter, and these traits can be suggested as a selection criterion in safflower breeding programs. The hierarchical clustering was in agreement with the patterns of 7 similarity centers based on seed yield per plant, capitula per plant, capitulum diameter, and branches per plant. During this study, a few promising safflower accessions were selected for future breeding programs.
Keywords: Agronomic traits, germplasm characterization, multivariate analyses, safflower, selection criteria, similarity center
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