Classification of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L) Moench] breeding material based on multiple crucial characters is important towards the possible formation of homogeneous groups of genotypes and groups that can be exploited in the identification of parents for use in a breeding program. The objective was to determine the morphological characters that distinguish desirable breeding material and group the genotypes of sorghum according to similarity. Principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis were used to establish the relationships among germplasm and the Shannon Diversity index was used to quantify the level of diversity. The experiment involving 26 sorghum genotypes was conducted at Sussundenga Research Station across two seasons and laid out in a 13 × 2 alpha lattice design with four replications. Cluster analysis grouped genotypes into four clusters based on 15 evaluated traits. Five principal components cumulatively accounting for 58.5% of the total variation were estimated from the PCA analysis. The results showed that genotypes 150B, IS 14257R, LARSVYT 46B, TX 631B, TX 630B and 8601B were the early maturity while for late maturity genotypes were MA 6B, A 6352R, ICSA 19B and MZ 30R. The genotypes IS 7179R, SPL 9B, A 6353R, SPL 38B, SDS 6013R and MZ 2R showed a potential for grain yield improvement. Other genotypes presented potential for drought tolerance and birds attack. The multivariate analyses clearly showed the grouping of the genotypes according to the characters outlined in the study. These results have implications in selecting parents for use in sorghum breeding program.
Key words: Cluster analysis, diversity index, principal component analysis and sorghum improvement.
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