Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan
(L.) Millspaugh) is an important source of grain protein for low-income countries such as Malawi. Knowledge of the genetic diversity in pigeonpea is essential for an effective breeding program. The study objective was to assess the genetic diversity among diverse pigeonpea accessions to select complementary and unique genotypes for breeding. Eighty-one pigeonpea accessions were evaluated in six environments in Malawi using a 9 × 9 alpha-lattice design with two replications. The cross-tabulation analysis revealed a significant genotype variation on plant growth, flower, and seed traits. The combined analysis of variance identified genotypes MWPLR 14, ICEAP 01170, ICEAP 871091, and ICEAP 01285 as early maturing varieties, while Kachangu, MWPLR 16, TZA 5582, No. 40, and MWPLR 14 were identified as high-yielding genotypes. The correlation analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between grain yield and a hundred seed weight (HSWT) (r = 0.50, p
< 0.01), suggesting the usefulness of this trait for selection. The nonlinear principal component analysis identified grain yield (GDY), days to 50% flowering (DTF), days to 75% maturity (DTM), number of pods per plant (NPP), number of racemes per plant (NRP), 100 seed weight (HSWT), leaf hairiness (LH), and number of seeds per pod (NSP) as the most discriminated traits among the test genotypes. The cluster analysis using morphological traits delineated the accessions into three clusters. The selected high-yielding and early-maturing genotypes may be recommended as parental lines for breeding and grain yield improvement in Malawi or similar agro-ecologies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited