Characterisation of Pearl Millet [Pennisetum glaucum, (L), R.BR] Germplasm in Ghana

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JUNE, 2014
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Germplasm collections represent the store of genetic information available for crop breeding and improvement. Germplasm characterisation can be carried out by means of morphological, biochemical, or molecular analysis. Molecular analysis using genomic DNA is reliable since it can be carried out at any developmental state of plant and offers the opportunity to efficiently compare all accessions. The Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR) markers used have demonstrated to be very informative in studying relationships in closely related plant species as well as readily detecting co-dominant inheritance and exhibiting a high level of polymorphism per loci. One hundred and twenty-six Pearl millet accessions were collected from Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions which are home to Pearl millet production in Ghana. Days to 50 % booting separated 123 of the collections into Early, Medium and Late maturing groups whiles morphological data helped to further group the early maturity group into three clusters and five clusters each for medium and late maturity groups using Unweighted Pair-group Method with the Arithmetic Means (UPGMA) and Jaccard’s coefficient range of 0-1. Thirty-six Pearl millet SSR markers (loci) used to genotype 119 of the accessions collected, revealed an average of 8.8 alleles per locus. A maximum of 20 alleles were observed by loci Xpsmp2270 and Xpsmp2068, and a minimum of three alleles were revealed by loci XPsmp2246 and Xpsmp2201. Mean PIC, expected and observed heterozygosity values obtained indicate high polymorphism in the accessions. The sizes of alleles ranged from 98bp at locus Xpsmp2068 to 377bp at locus M13_Xpsmp2203. A combination of the molecular and morpho-agronomic data resulted in 30 (24.39%) accessions selected as core which could serve as trait-specific and local gene source for enhanced Pearl millet breeding work in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, KNUST, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Agronomy (Plant Breeding).