Genetic variation and
trait correlations in a bird-resistant pearl millet landrace
D. Afribeh2 and M. S. Abdulai2
of Crop and Soil Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame
Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Manga Station, P.O.
Box 46, Bawku, Ghana.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Genetic variation and correlations among traits within a
Ghanaian bird-resistant pearl millet landrace population
were investigated by evaluating S1 plants derived
from the population, at two locations and for two years in
Ghana. The objectives were to study genetic variation and
correlations among traits in the population, determine the
feasibility of selection and to suggest appropriate
selection methods and selection indices for effective
improvement. There was significant genetic variation for
grain yield and most yield component traits, indicating that
selection within the population would be feasible. Genetic
variation was, however not significant for the percent
incidence of downy mildew, implying that selection for
improving resistance to the disease would not be effective.
Heritabilities ranged from moderate to high (0.4- 0.73) for
most traits, in view of which the use of recurrent selection
methods, with progeny testing, could be effective for
improvement of the population. Grain yield was observed to
have significant phenotypic and genotypic correlations with
days to 50% blooming and with earhead length, indicating
that those two traits could be relied upon as selection
indices for selection to improve grain yield. However,
significant positive correlations were also observed between
earhead length and plant height, which is undesirable, as
plants with tall height tend to have a low harvest index and
are also prone to lodging. In view of this, caution would be
needed during selection, in order to achieve an improved
population with good grain yielding ability and not very
tall plant height.
Pearl millet, Ghanaian landrace, genetic variation, trait
correlations, selection indices.