Assessment of genetic diversity in China aster [Callistephus chinensis (L.) Nees
Keywords:China aster, cluster analysis, diversity, principal component analysis, PCA
China aster [Callistephus chinensis (L.) Nees] is a flowering annual mainly cultivated for loose flower and cut flower, bedding and pot culture. To assess the genetic diversity, 42 genotypes were evaluated for fourteen quantitative traits. The genotypes were found to be highly variable for the traits such as plant height, plant spread, flower stalk length, 100 flower weight, number of flowers per plant, weight of flowers per plant and flower yield per hectare. However, low variability was recorded for vase life and shelf life. The genotypes were broadly grouped into two clusters, which were further divided into cluster 1a, 1b and cluster 2a, 2b, respectively. All the genotypes in cluster 1a were vigorous and medium flowering, whereas, genotypes in cluster 1b were tall, erect, vigorous and late flowering. The cluster 2a comprises of the genotypes with short stature, small flower and early flowering, however, cluster 2b contains only two genotypes. In principal component analysis (PCA) PC1 was highly correlated to flower yield, weight of flowers/plant, flower stalk length and plant height and PC2 was highly positively correlated to shelf life and vase life and negatively correlated to 100 flower weight. The results suggested that the existing variation in China aster genotypes could be used for the development of trait-specific novel genotypes.
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