Evaluation of Morphological Attributes in Tea Progenies Arising from Gamma-Treated Seeds

Kamau, P. N. ; et al. (2020-06)

A key step in characterization of germplasm is the identification of phenotypic variation present in a given population. A study was carried out to determine the effect of different dosages of gamma rays (50 and 100Gy) on phenotypic variation using 21 standardized morphological descriptors of the UPOV Tea Test Guidelines. The trial comprised of open-pollinated seed stocks from six commercial tea cultivars namely TRFCA SFS150, TRFK 303/1199, EPK C12, GW Ejulu-L, TRFK 301/1 and TRFK 301/4 along with untreated controls. Data was collected for three seasons (dry, warm wet and cold wet) using five randomly selected plants from each treatment. Principle Component Analysis using 17 informative descriptors showed the first eight principal components accounted for 78% of the total variance, with 15 being highly informative. Cluster analysis further identified characters such as young shoot anthocyanin colouration at base of the petiole, leaf blade shape/color/length, shoot color/length, density of pubescence, plant vigour and density of branches as most discriminating descriptors resulting in four phenotypically well-defined groups. Most traits showed significant correlation, an indication that the traits could be used for indirect selection. The study provides a basis for rapid and early screening of base populations for identification of elite cultivars.

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)


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