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Grouping locations for efficient cassava evaluation in Malawi
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Cassava, a crop widely adapted in the tropics, has the important attribute of withstanding adverse environmental conditions better than do many other staple crops. The performance of an individual genotype, however, is influenced by the environment in which it grows. In Malawi, the heterogeneity of agro-ecologies requires the cumbersome and costly assessment of new cassava genotypes at many sites. This study was conducted, therefore, to test the feasibility of selecting only a few locations for cassava evaluation that would be representative of all the agro-ecologies in which cassava is grown in Malawi. Enormous environmental effects, largely contributed by the interaction between season and location, were manifested. Genotype × environment interaction, due largely to a third level interaction (genotype × season × location), was highly significant for all the traits studied. A principal component analysis scatter plot showed no particular grouping of environments, but a pair-wise comparison showed that some of the locations had limited genotype × environment interaction, indicating that it would be sufficient to use one of these sites for evaluating these traits. The value of the residual was often large, probably as an effect of environmental heterogeneity in the test sites. The authors conclude that cassava genetic improvement will continue to be slow if Malawi is used as a single breeding zone. They recommend a much finer grouping of the locations and the use of smaller plot sizes to allow more clones to be tested at more sites for the same cost. Locations may be selected for intensive cassava breeding work from those that give the best discrimination between genotypes while having insignificant genotype × environment interactions in a relatively large number of environments.
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Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/6773
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