Assessments of genetic variability was carried out in a set of forty-one genotypes of Barnyard millet [Echinochloa frumentacea (Roxb.) Link] grown in a Randomized Block Design with three replications during the Kharif, 2019-2020 at Hill Millet Research Station, Navsari Agricultural University, Waghai, The Dangs. The basic objective of the experiment was to assess the extent of morphological variation as well as genetic divergence in the available barnyard millet germplasm, which will serve as base for future barnyard millet crop improvement programmes. Fourteen different characters related to seed yield were recorded and subjected to estimation genetic diversity of the genotypes. Studies pertaining to genetic divergence were also carried out using Mahalanobis D2 statistics for forty-one barnyard millet genotypes and twelve clusters were formed. Clustering pattern of the genotypes was independent of their geographical distribution. Based on inter-cluster distance, cluster III and V showed the maximum distance followed by the distance between cluster III and IV. Therefore, it is concluded that the genotypes belonging to these clusters should be inter-crossed in order to generate more variability and improving grain yield in barnyard millet. On the basis of cluster means for different characters, it concluded that high yielding genotypes coupled with other important physiological traits viz.,days to 50 % flowering, days to maturity, plant height at maturity, productive tillers per plant, branches per panicle, panicle (finger) length, straw yield per plant, 1000 seed weight, protein content, Ca content, fat content, Fe content and Zn content could be selected as parents for hybridization programme from cluster III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XII. Inter-crossing among the genotypes from these clusters might results in hybrids having high vigour which may further results in wide array of genetic variability for exercising effective selection. Analysis corroborated the absence of relationship between geographic origin and genetic diversity, as genotypes from the different area grouped into same clusters and the genotypes of same area were grouped in the different clusters. Therefore, breeder must evaluate their material for genetic diversity and should not merely depend on their geographical origin.
barnyard millet, genetic diversity, yield characters, quality characters, quantitative characters
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