High yielding and trait specific genotypes and genetic associations among yield and yield contributing traits in Jatropha curcas L.
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Jatropha curcas L., an important oilseed crop of the family Euphorbiaceae is valued for its oil as a fuel oil and biodiesel/aviation fuel feedstock. The adaptability and robustness of the plant makes it eminently suitable for integrating into small farm agroforestry systems and as an intercrop, especially in marginal and drought-stressed areas. Profitable cultivation of the crop is hampered by the lack of cultivars with stable and high yield. Variance components, heritabilities and genetic associations of yield and its determinants were estimated in 57 accessions from nine countries. The accessions exhibited significant variation and the coefficient of variation showed higher PCV than GCV for all the traits. Broad sense heritability and genetic advance were high for seed yield and height from base to branching and low for kernel oil content. Pearson correlation coefficients showed positive significant correlation of fruit shape and number of female flowers per inflorescence with seed yield. Cluster analysis based on 20 mixed traits grouped the accessions into five clusters with all the non-toxic accessions forming a separate cluster while the toxic accessions were grouped in four clusters. Seed yield recorded over 5 years indicated a significant yield increase by the 5th year and the high yielding toxic accessions, JP47 and JP40 gave average seed yields (g plant−1) of 2574 and 1613 and maximum yields (g plant−1) of 2943 and 1940, respectively. This is a significant step towards identification of trait specific genotypes with high seed yield, high test weight, pistillate nature, dual purpose edible types, which could be successfully utilized for genetic improvement of the crop through selection and hybrid breeding.