Diversity in Indian sesame collection and stratification of germplasm accessions in different diversity groups

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Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the ancient oil crops, grown in India since over 5,000 years ago. Diversity in the Indian sesame collection (3,129 accessions), representing all eco-geographical regions, for a range of morphological and agronomic characters was studied. Wide variation in plant habit (plant height and branching pattern), pubescence of various plant parts (stem, leaf, corolla and capsule), flower colour and number of flowers per leaf axil, capsule characteristics (shape, size, number in the axil of a leaf and number of locules in a capsule), number of capsules per plant, number of seeds per capsule, mean seed weight, and yield per plant was recorded. A detailed multivariate analysis was performed on a set of 100 selected accessions representing different agro-ecological zones. The accessions were classified into 7 discrete clusters. The principal components analysis described the spatial relationship among the entities and confirmed groupings obtained through clustering. Based on the clustering pattern of 100 accessions, the entire collection was allocated to different clusters. Representation of various zones in 7 clusters gives us the opportunity to form distinct diversity groups making combined use of passport and characterisation data. These diversity groups would subsequently be used for sampling the accessions for building up a core collection of sesame, a project already operative at the NBPGR.

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