Background: Sorghum is one of the main staple food crops for the poorest and most food insecure people of the world. As Ethiopia is the centre of origin and diversity for sorghum, the crop has been cultivated for many thousands of years. Hence, indigenous knowledge based sorghum classification and naming has a long tradition.
Phenotypic yield stability is a trait of special interest for plant breeders and farmers. This value can be quantified if genotypes are evaluated in different environments. Common bean is the main cash crop and protein source of farmers in many lowland and mid-altitude areas of Ethiopia. An experiment was undertaken to evaluate common bean genotypes for yield performance at Alemaya, Bako and Nazreth in Ethiopia for 3 years. The yield performance of genotypes was subjected to stability analysis and yield-stability statistics were generated to aid the selection of genotypes that were high yielding and very stable. The significant genotype by environment interaction indicated that the relative performance of the varieties altered in the different environments. Genotype yield performance varied ranging from 1511-2216 kg\ha. Simultaneous selection for yield and yieldstability statistics using YS(i) statistics indicated that A 410, GLP x92, Mx-2500-19, G 2816, A-195, 997-CH-1173, Diacol calima, ICA 15541 and AND 635 were both high yielding and stable. Following this study, using farmers ' evaluation and other criteria, GLP x92 and G-2816 were identified as preferred genotypes and were released for further production.
The eastern Africa region, Ethiopia and its surroundings, is considered as the center of origin and diversity for sorghum, and has contributed to global sorghum genetic improvement. The germplasm from this region harbors enormous genetic variation for various traits but little is known regarding the genetic architecture of most traits. Here, 1425 Ethiopian landrace accessions were phenotyped under field conditions for presence or absence of awns, panicle compactness and shape, panicle exsertion, pericarp color, glume cover, plant height and smut resistance under diverse environmental conditions in Ethiopia. In addition, F1 hybrids obtained from a subset of 1341 accessions crossed to an A1 cytoplasmic male sterile line, ATx623, were scored for fertility/sterility reactions. Subsequently, genotyping-by-sequencing generated a total of 879,407 SNPs from which 72,190 robust SNP markers were selected after stringent quality control (QC). Pairwise distance-based hierarchical clustering identified 11 distinct groups. Of the genotypes assigned to either one of the 11 sub-populations, 65% had high ancestry membership coefficient with the likelihood of more than 0.60 and the remaining 35% represented highly admixed accessions. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified loci and SNPs associated with aforementioned traits. GWAS based on compressed mixed linear model (CMLM) identified SNPs with significant association (FDR ≤ 0.05) to the different traits studied. The percentage of total phenotypic variation explained with significant SNPs across traits ranged from 2 to 43%. Candidate genes showing significant association with different traits were identified. The sorghum bHLH transcription factor, ABORTED MICROSPORES was identified as a strong candidate gene conditioning male fertility. Notably, sorghum CLAVATA1 receptor like kinase, known for regulation of plant growth, and the ETHYLENE RESPONSIVE TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR gene RAP2-7, known to suppress transition to flowering, were significantly associated with plant height. In addition, the YELLOW SEED1 like MYB transcription factor and TANNIN1 showed strong association with pericarp color validating previous observations. Overall, the genetic architecture of natural variation representing the complex Ethiopian sorghum germplasm was established. The study contributes to the characterization of genes and alleles controlling agronomic traits, and will serve as a source of markers for molecular breeding.
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is the fifth most important cereal crop worldwide and it is the fourth most important crop in Ethiopia. The national average yield amounts 1302 kg/ha. In order to assess the achievement in farmer breeding various types of research were undertaken. These include survey research to quantify the trend in productivity, the level of and reasons for adoption of improved varieties, yield performance and preference evaluation of farmers' varieties (FVs) and improved varieties (IVs). As per the trend analysis over the last four decades, total production and yield per hectare has increased by 11.63 and 14.2%, respectively. However, area allocated to sorghum has decreased over years by -2.93%. The lack of consistent productivity is attributed to the fluctuation of environmental factors. Sorghum production in Ethiopia is predominantly based on varieties developed by farmers. The share of IVs is very low. FVs and IVs are adopted by 87.3 and 12.7% of the farmers, respectively. Besides, the adoption of IVs is limited to the lowland crop ecology. The comparative yield of FVs is higher than IVs by 132%. On top of yield, farmers do prefer their varieties for other multipurpose values namely feed, fuel wood and construction material. FVs under production are identified in each wereda. Farmer breeding has been successful compared to four decades of formal breeding. On the other hand, both farmer and formal breeding are not without weaknesses; a comparative balance sheet is outlined for both. Ideotypes for the three major crop ecologies are suggested and integrated plant breeding is anticipated to develop the proposed ideotypes thereby increase sorghum productivity in the region.
Understanding functional relations among plant traits and their modulation by growing conditions is imperative in designing selection strategies for breeding programs. This study assessed trait relationships among 196 common bean genotypes exposed to stresses for drought and field infestation of bean fly or bean stem maggot (BSM). The study was carried out at two locations and data was analyzed with linear correlation, path coefficient and genotype × trait biplot analyses. Multiple trait data related to mechanisms of drought and bean fly tolerance were collected on 196 genotypes grown under i) water deficit at mid-pod fill, or ii) unprotected against bean fly; iii) irrigated, well watered conditions, or iv) bean fly protection with chemicals. Seed yield exhibited positive and significant correlations with leaf chlorophyll content, vertical root pulling resistance, pod harvest index, pods per plant and seeds per pod at both phenotypic and genotypic levels under stress and non-stress conditions. Genotypic correlations of traits with seed yield were greater than their respective phenotypic correlations across environments indicating the greater contribution of genotypic factors to the trait correlation. Pods per plant and seeds per pod had high positive direct effects on seed yield both under stress and non-stress whereas pods per plant had the highest indirect effect on seed yield through pod harvest index under stress.In general, our results suggest that vertical root pulling resistance and pod harvest index are important selection objectives for improving seed yield in common beans under non-stress and stress conditions, and particularly useful for drought and BSM tolerance evaluation.
The Ethiopian region is characterised by a wide range of agro-climatic conditions, which accounted for the enormous resources of agro-biodiversity that exist in the country. The most important of these resources is the immense genetic diversity of the various crop plants in the country. Of these, one of the most on farm genetically diverse crops is sorghum. Since the advent of formal breeding in particular after green revolution, genetic diversity of most crops has been threatened worldwide. In order to assess on farm genetic erosion (GE), various research methodologies were employed. These were focused group interviews with 360 farmers, on farm monitoring and participation with 120 farmers, key informant interviews with 60 farmers and development agents, and semi-structured interviews with 250 farmers. Besides, diversity fairs were done with over 1200 farmers. Notwithstanding the complexity of assessing GE, it was assessed by various methods; namely, by temporal method (comparing 1960 and 2000 collections), area method, and semi-structured interview method at individual, community or wereda level and causes of varietal loss from other various perspectives. Farmers perceived GE as the reduced importance of the variety as indicated by lower proportion in the varietal portfolio. The five most important factors for varietal loss at individual farmers' level were reduced benefit from the varieties, drought, Khat expansion, reduced land size and introduction of other food crops respectively. GE was not affected by wealth groups and ecological regions. Farmers do not make simple replacement as a strategic mechanism for genetic resources management. GE at regional level was quantified by temporal and spatial method. There was a complementation not rivalry between farmer varieties (FVs) and improved varieties (IVs). The whole process of GE is explained by three models, namely: Bioecogeographic enhanced genetic erosion model, Farmer induced genetic erosion model and Farmer-cum-bioecogeographic genetic erosion model. As aforementioned, sorghum genetic erosion behaviour is completely different from other food crops such as tetraploid wheat. The prediction in the late seventies that complete erosion of FVs by IVs by the end of the eighties, the principle of GE that competition between IVs and FVs, favours the former and results in the replacement of the latter is not valid in the context of sorghum in Ethiopia. Hence, maintenance of the on farm genetic diversity of sorghum is a reality but GE is rhetoric.
Sorghum is one of the main staple crops tor the poorest and mosl food insecure people of the world. Elhiopla being Ihe center of origin and diversity for sorghum, the crop has been cultivated for many thousand years, in order to quantify socioecotype differentiation, varietal mixture, and selection efficiency, both survey research and field experiments were undertaken. Sorghum is found to be widely grown in the study area and adaptively differentiated into races, ecotypes, and varieties. The typical Durra race is tbund in the lowlands; Durra. Durra-Caudatum, and Caudatum are found in the intermediate altitude and Bicolor-Caudatum, Fircw Mekbib is affiliated with Haramaya University, The author thanks the farmers of eastern Ethiopia for their participation and sharing their ideas and knowledge on the different aspects of farmer breeding. He is grateful tor the research and field assistants thai assisted with the interviews with farmers and for field and laboratory work. Thanks also go to various NGOs and GOs who have helped and assisted in the various aspects of the surveys and fieldwork. He also thanks the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions.Guinea-Caudatum, and Bicolor races are found in the highlands. Ecotype differentiation resulted in ecotypes and varieties specifically adapted to the erop growing environments. A transect of variety by aliiiude showed a genotype substitution over altitudinal ranges trom the lowlands to the highlands. Socioecotypic differentiation, introduced as a new concept, is the spatial and temporal differentiation of genotypes due to the ecological and soeioeconomic factors. As a way of managing the varietal mixture portfolio, 39% of the farmers exercise intervarietal replacement by varieties with better adaptation, quality, and yield. Farmers knew that there is no as such a perfect variety and it is practically impossible for a single variety to meet all the requirements. As a result, 61% ofthe farmers use varietal mixtures as a complementary strategy. Of these, 96% of them select and compose the varieties in the varietal mixture intentionally. Hence, the varietal components were not random selections but specific combinations. Direct and participatory on farm monitoring showed that the average number of varieties in the varietal mixture per plot was about ten. The mean number of varieties per quadrant was 4.41. The mean frequency of the varieties by type was two per quadrant. Ratooning was practiced by 30% of the farmers. The determining factors dictating ratooning were drought (71%) and pest (26%). Transplanting was one of ihe plant stand management strategies. Farmers' varieties showed significant variation for the yield, 1000 seed weight, plant height, and panicle weight. A significant interaction was also observed for yield between varieties and selection, and between farmer and selection. The three major varieties developed by the farmers in each wereda of eastern Ethiopia were identified and have to be promoted for production in areas of ecological adaptation a...
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