, Volume 164, Issue 1, pp 105–111 | Cite as

Genetic variation in F2 populations and their potential in the improvement of grain yield in tef (Eragrostis tef)

  • Hailu TeferaEmail author
  • Getachew Belay
  • Kebebew Assefa


Tef is a staple cereal of Ethiopia in high demand by consumers. In order to cope up with this high consumer demand, productivity per unit of land must increase through the development and use of high-yielding varieties. To this effect, the National Tef Research Project has long been striving towards the development of high yielding varieties through direct selection from germplasm and concentrating favourable alleles through hybridization and selection, despite the tedious crossing technique. The objective of this study was to assess the degree of genetic variation in F2 populations of tef as a basis for improving grain yield. F2 populations from 12 crosses and their parents were grown at the Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia, and assessment was made on eight traits on individual plant basis. Eleven of the 12 crosses showed substantial genetic variation for grain yield and its components, indicating the potential for improvement through selection. Moreover, grain yield, plant weight and yield related traits showed moderate to high heritability values (17–80%). In all the crosses, tiller number, panicle weight, yield per panicle and panicle length showed significant (P ≤ 0.05) and positive association with grain yield. Considering the degree of genetic variation and heritability values, emphasis should be given to selected crosses in an effort to developing high-yielding tef varieties.


Eragrostis tef F2 populations Grain yield Heritability Tef 



This work was financially supported by the McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (Grant No. 02-451). The authors would like to thank the technicians of the National Tef Research Project at Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center for their help in the field work and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


  1. Assefa K, Ketema S, Tefera H, Nguyen HT, Blum A, Ayele M, Bai G, Simane B, Kefyalew T (1999) Diversity among germplasm lines of the Ethiopian cereal tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. Euphytica 106:87–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Assefa K, Tefera H, Merker A, Kefyalew T, Hundera F (2001) Quantitative trait diversity in tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter] germplasm from Central and Northern Ethiopia. Genetic Res Crop Evol 48:53–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Belay G, Tefera H, Getachew A, Assefa A, Metaferia G (2008) Highly client-oriented breeding with farmer participation in the Ethiopian cereal tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. Afri J Agri Res 3:022–028Google Scholar
  4. Berhe T (1975) Breakthrough in tef breeding technique. FAO Information Bulletin, Cereal Improvement and Production, Near East Project. XII(3):11–13Google Scholar
  5. Berhe T (1981) Inheritance of lemma color, seed color and panicle form among four cultivars of tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc) Trotter]. PhD thesis, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USAGoogle Scholar
  6. Burton GW (1952) Quantitative inheritance in grasses. Proceedings of sixth international grassland congress. vol 1. National Publishing Co., Washington DC, pp 277–283Google Scholar
  7. Central Statistical Agency (2006) Agricultural sample survey 2005/2006 (1998 E.C), vol 1. Report on area and production of crops (private peasant holdings, Meher season), Statistical Belletin 361, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  8. Ebba T (1975) Tef (Eragrostis tef) cultivars: morphology and classification. Part II. Expt Sta Bull 66. Addis Ababa University, College of Agriculture, Dire Dawa, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  9. Empig LT, Lantican RM, Escuro PB (1970) Heritability estimates of quantitative characters in mung bean (Phaseolus aurus Roxb.). Crop Sci 10:240–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fabrizius MA, Busch RH, Khan K, Huckle L (1998) Genetic diversity and heterosis of spring wheat crosses. Crop Sci 38:1108–1112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kearsey MJ, Pooni HS (1996) The genetical analysis of quantitative traits. Stanley Thornes (publishers) Ltd., CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  12. Sharma RC (1994) Early generation selection for grain-filling period in wheat. Crop Sci 34:945–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Talbert LE, Lanning SP, Murphy RL, J. M. Martin JM (2001) Grain fill duration in twelve hard red spring wheat crosses: genetic variation and association with other agronomic traits. Crop Sci 41:1390–1395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Tefera H (1993) Modernization of tef (Eragrostis tef) improvement with reference to genetics and tissue culture. PhD Thesis, University of London, UKGoogle Scholar
  15. Tefera H (2002) Inheritance of morphological and agronomic traits in tef (Eragrostis tef). J Genet Breed 56:353–358Google Scholar
  16. Tefera H, Assefa K, Belay G (2003a) Evaluation of interspecific recombinant inbred lines of Eragrostis tef × E. pilosa. J Genet Breed 57:21–30Google Scholar
  17. Tefera H, Assefa K, Hundera F, Kefyalew T, Teferra T (2003b) Heritability and genetic advance in recombinant inbred lines of tef (Eragrostis tef). Euphytica 131:91–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Tefera H, Peat WE (1997) Genetics of grain yield and other agronomic characters in t’ef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. I. Generation means and variances analysis. Euphytica 96:185–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tefera H, Ayele M, Assefa K (1995) Improved varieties of tef (Eragrostis tef) in Ethiopia. Releases of 1970–1995. Research Bulletin No.1. Debre Zeit Agric Res Center, Alemaya University of Agriculture, Debre Zeit, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  20. Teklu Y, Tefera H (2005) Genetic improvement in grain yield potential and associated agronomic traits of tef (Eragrostis tef). Euphytica 141:247–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural ResearchDebre ZeitEthiopia
  2. 2.IITA-MalawiChitedze Research StationLilongweMalawi

Personalised recommendations