Forty-nine tef, Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter, genotypes comprising 36 improved and 10 farmers’ varieties, and, three elite breeding lines were field evaluated using 7 × 7 simple lattice design at two contrasting locations (Debre Zeit and Alem Tena) in central Ethiopia during the main cropping season. The objective was to assess the extent and pattern of genetic diversity for 23 quantitative pheno-agro-morphological traits. Differences among the varieties were significant for most of the traits except lodging index, thousand seed weight, plant weight and grain yield per plant at each location. Similarity, the pooled analysis over locations showed significant genotype effect for most of the traits except number of total and fertile tillers, lodging index, plant weight and grain yield per plant. The varieties were grouped into seven clusters of different sizes. Improved varieties resulting from direct selection and hybridization were clustered together while local varieties mostly remained solitary. Principal component analysis depicted cumulative effects of a number of traits resulted in the differentiation of the varieties into clusters. Genetic distances among most of the clusters were significant such that crosses between parents selected out of them are expected to generate desirable genetic recombination. Hence, incorporation of farmers’ varieties in the breeding program would be imperative for broadening the genetic base of the released varieties. Moreover, future research strategies on germplasm collection, conservation, rejuvenation, characterization, selection and incorporation must be given due emphasis in the tef breeding program.
Key words: Clustering, genetic diversity, improved varieties, farmers’ varieties, pheno-agro-morphological traits, principal component analysis, tef.
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