The genebank at ICRISAT conserves the largest collection of 23,092 pearl millet germplasm accessions originating in 52 countries. A total of 15,979 landraces originating in 34 countries and having geographic coordinates of the collection sites were selected to investigate the geographical distribution of pearl millet traits and diversity in the collection. Results revealed adaptation of pearl millet to latitudes ranging between 33.00°S and 36.91°N. Landraces with early flowering (33–40 days) were predominant in Pakistan, Ghana, Togo and India; with very late flowering (121–159 days) in Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic; with short plant height (80–100 cm) in India, Zambia and Sudan; with tallness (401–490 cm) in Chad, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and the Central African Republic; with high tillering (11–35) in India and Yemen; with high panicle exsertion (11–29 cm) in Ghana, Chad, India and Yemen; with long panicles (75–135 cm) in Nigeria and Niger; with thick panicles (41–58 mm) in Namibia, Togo and Zimbabwe and those with large seeds (16–19 g 1000 seeds−1) were predominant in Togo, Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Collections from Ghana for flowering (36–150 days), Burkina Faso for plant height (80–490), India and Yemen for total (1–35) and productive (1–19) tillers per plant, Niger for panicle exsertion (−45 to 21.0), panicle length (9–135 cm) and thickness (12–55 mm) and Zimbabwe for 1000 seed weight (3.5–19.3 g), were found as important sources for trait diversity. Launching collection missions for trait-specific germplasm is suggested to enrich the world collection of pearl millet at ICRISAT genebank for diversity.
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The authors sincerely acknowledge the contribution of all former and present staff of the Genetic Resources Unit (GRU), ICRISAT in the collection, assembly, conservation and characterization of pearl millet genetic resources. The help of Sube Singh, Lead Scientific Officer, Genebank, in analyzing the data is gratefully acknowledged. The help of D. Bapa Rao and G. Ram Reddy, Mohd. Ismail, Research Technicians at the Genetic Resources Unit, ICRISAT, India, in recording observations and documentation of the data for this study is highly appreciated.
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Upadhyaya, H.D., Reddy, K.N., Ahmed, M.I. et al. Geographical distribution of traits and diversity in the world collection of pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br., synonym: Cenchrus americanus (L.) Morrone] landraces conserved at the ICRISAT genebank. Genet Resour Crop Evol 64, 1365–1381 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-016-0442-8
- Pennisetum glaucum