Variability for quantitative traits in exotic hybrid germplasm of sugarcane

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The foreign hybrid collection of sugarcane germplasm comprising 399 clones representing 10 geographical groups, was evaluated for nine yield and quality characters, in relation to their place of origin. Discriminant function analysis showed that all the nine variables contributed significantly to the discrimination of the groups, the maximum contribution being cane height. The overall percentage of correct classification was only 48%, with a range from 32% to 73% with respect to individual groups. This suggests an underlying genetic similarity among the groups, which stem largely from their common genetic base. The exceptions were the Hawaii and Mauritius groups, which had distinct identities. The Hawaii group was the most productive group, having maximum yield and sucrose potential. The Puerto Rico group was the best source for juice sucrose. Australian varieties bred for high juice quality did not show the expected level of juice sucrose in the present study. The use in breeding programmes of Hawaiian varieties, which have a broader genetic base and high yield and quality potential, might impart better productivity to commercial varieties.

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