Journal of Innovative Agriculture, Volume 10, Issue 1 : 1-37. Doi : 10.37446/jinagri/ra/10.1.2023.1-37
Review Article

OPEN ACCESS | Published on : 31-Mar-2023

Inheritance of key traits in finger millet and its breeding implications in developing sustainable varieties in semi-arid regions

  • Brighton Makovere
  • Department of Crop Production Sciences and Technologies, University of Zimbabwe, Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Edmore Gasura
  • Department of Crop Production Sciences and Technologies, University of Zimbabwe, Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Abhinandan S Patil
  • Department of Plant Science, Plant Genomics and Breeding Institute and Vegetable Breeding Research Center, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, South Korea.
  • Miriam Chibvongodze
  • Department of Crop Production Sciences and Technologies, University of Zimbabwe, Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.


Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn) is a food and feed crop for semi-arid regions. The crop is suitable for dry and hot environments, and it yields well even with minimal inputs. Its nutritional composition ranks higher than maize. Limited research studies have been done to improve the crop’s productivity and even to breed sustainable finger millet varieties suitable in Sub-Saharan Africa. This review aims to comprehend the inheritance of key traits and their breeding implication in developing varieties for food, beverages, and feed for semi-arid regions. The review identified traits with high heritability, which were grouped into compulsory and value-added traits. Grain yield potential was identified as a compulsory trait for all sustainable finger millet varieties. Days to maturity, drought and heat tolerance, protein content and blast disease tolerance were compulsory traits for food varieties. Light-coloured grains, phosphorus use efficiency, essential minerals content, low phytates and Striga tolerance were value-added traits for food varieties. Grain size, brown coloured-grains, free amino nitrogen and diastatic power were compulsory traits for beverages/opaque beer varieties. Essential minerals content, plant height and low phytates content were value-added traits for beer varieties. Dry matter stover yield, digestible dry matter digestible yield, digestibility, and plant height were compulsory traits for feed varieties. Several basal tillers, stover nitrogen content, stover crude protein content and soluble sugars content are value-added traits for feed varieties. Heritability plus genetic-advance as a percentage of the mean influence the choice of traits in a breeding programme. However, indirect selection methods like correlated trait inheritance and molecular markers can assist in breeding traits with high heritability.


Additive gene action, breeding programme, Eleusine coracana, heritability, genetic-advance, semi-arid regions, climatic change, phosphorous use efficiency


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