, Volume 52, Issue 7, pp 821-830

Development of Core Collection using Geographic Information and Morphological Descriptors in Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) Germplasm

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Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) ranks eighth among the major oilseeds crop grown worldwide. The leaves, flower, and seeds have medicinal and industrial significance. Its seed has the best quality of edible oil. The development of a core collection could facilitate easier access to safflower genetic resources for their use in crop-improvement programs and simplify the genebank management. The present study was initiated to develop a core subset of safflower based on 12 morphological descriptors and geographic information on 5522 safflower accessions. The accessions were stratified by country of origin, and data on 12 descriptors were used for clustering following Ward’s method. About 10% of the accessions were randomly selected from each of the 25 clusters to constitute a core subset of 570 accessions. Mean comparisons using t-test, frequency distribution using χ2-test, and Shannon-Weaver diversity index of 12 descriptors indicated that the genetic variation available for these traits in the entire collection has been preserved in the core subset. There was a fair degree of similarity in phenotypic correlation coefficients among traits in the entire collection and core subset, suggesting that this core subset has preserved most of the co-adapted gene complexes controlling these associations. This core subset, provides an opportunity to evaluate agronomic and seed quality traits and resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses to identify diverse germplasm with beneficial traits for enhancing the genetic potential of safflower.