Assessment of Genetic Diversity of Some Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn. Accessions Using Morphological Markers

D.V.S. Kaluthanthri, P.N. Dasanayaka


Germplasm characterization is an important link between conservation and utilization
of plant genetic resources. The study was conducted to characterize randomly selected 20
finger millet germplasm accessions obtained from Plant Genetic Resource Center,
Gannoruwa, Sri Lanka using morphological markers. Morphological study was carried out
using Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) and 15 morphological markers were
recorded. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) results for quantitative morphological characters
revealed that all quantitative morphological characters measured differed significantly
(p˂0.05) among the accessions used for the study, indicating higher levels of morphological
diversity. According to the ANOVA results, days to flowering and days to maturity show
high level of predictive capability while flag leaf length and number of productive tillers
show comparatively low level of predictive capability. Principal component analysis
indicated that morphological characters such as days to flowering, finger number and yield
per plant were the important traits contributing for the overall variability implying that
breeding effort on those traits can meet the targeted objective. The clustering pattern of
studied finger millet accessions based on morphological markers comprised of two major
clusters. Both clusters comprised of Indian accessions those conserved at PGRC, Gannoruwa
and as well as Sri Lankan accessions.
Results of the study suggest a considerable morphological variability, which could
exist among the studied traits. Furthermore, this study revealed that the genetic diversity
existed irrespective to the geographical origin. This finding justifies the importance of
germplasm characterization.

Keywords: Finger Millet, Morphological Markers, Germplasm Accessions, Genetic
Diversity, Crop Improvement

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Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka