Genetic diversity is worthwhile for durum wheat breeding and consequently results in production of more efficient varieties under different conditions. Cluster analysis based on Euclidean distances was carried out with 21 durum wheat genotypes to assess the genetic diversity for agronomic and quality traits. The Unweighted Pair Group Average using Arithmetic Mean as linkage rule was used for the analysis of the distances between clusters. The genotypes were evaluated for 23 agronomic and quality traits and expressed ample genetic variability. The cluster analysis clutches 21 durum wheat genotypes into 3 main distinct clusters which imply the presence of substantial genetic diversity among the tested genotypes. The highest and lowest genetic distance was observed between local cultivar Var21 and advanced breeding line Var8 (12.5) and advanced breeding lines Var14 and Var15 (0.33) genotypes, respectively. From cluster mean values, genotypes in cluster 3 revealed wider genetic variations for both intra and inter cluster genetic dissimilarities and can be utilized for direct use as parents in hybridization programs to develop high yielding durum wheat varieties. Genotypes in cluster 3 have also showed genetic variation for quality traits and may be used for enhancement of protein and gluten contents and other desirable traits other than grain yield. It was also renowned that disparity of genotypes into different clusters was because of the small contribution and cumulative effect of a number of traits. The facts obtained from this finding can be exhaustively used to design crosses and boost the use of genetic diversity and manifestation of heterosis.
Key words: Agronomic traits, cluster analysis, durum wheat, genetic distances, quality traits.
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