Nepalese foxtail millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.] genetic diversity revealed by morphological markers
Authors: K. H. Ghimire, B. K. Joshi, R. Gurung, B. R. Sthapit
Foxtail millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.] is among the oldest cereal grains grown from time immemorial in the Himalayan regions of Nepal. However, Nepalese farmers do not have any improved variety officially released due to lack of substantial research in this crop. A total of 41 foxtail millet accessions were characterized using phenotypic or morphological markers at National Agriculture Genetic Resources Centre (Genebank), Khumaltar (1360 m a.s.l.), Lalitpur, Nepal during 2015 summer to enhance the utilization of foxtail millet genetic resources. Seven quantitative and nine qualitative traits were recorded using standard descriptors of foxtail millet to assess the intra-specific diversity. Significant diversity was observed among the accessions as revealed by Shannon–Weaver diversity indices (H′) for quantitative traits and qualitative traits. Six elite landraces in Cluster-4 and Cluster-5 (three from Lamjung district, and one each from Gorkha, Humla and Jumla districts) produced average grain yield of 3136 kg/ha at Khumaltar condition with earlier maturity (average of 89 days), taller height (average of 172 cm) and thicker panicles (average width of 27 mm). These landraces were selected for further evaluation in the farmers’ field of mountain region due to their early maturity, higher yield potential, disease resistance and attractive panicles which could be considered as important genetic resources to develop climate resilient varieties to cope with the adverse effects of climate change.
Foxtail millet Intra-specific diversity Morphological markers Nepal Quantitative and qualitative traits