Information on the availability of genetic variability and mode of gene action are critically important for choosing effective breeding methods that result in appreciable improvement in performance under drought stress. The objectives of this study were to estimate the gene action for drought resistance of quantitative traits and also to estimate the components of variance and heritability of drought resistance in common bean. Field experiment was carried out using six generations of two populations made of crosses between pairs of drought resistant and susceptible genotypes (Roba-1 × SER-16; Melka-Dima × SAB623). The treatments were laid in a split plot design with three replications, where watering regime was assigned to the main plot and generations to the sub-plot. Drought stress was initiated at flowering stage by withholding application of irrigation water. Scaling test and generation mean analysis brought out that individual crosses greatly differed for the gene action and on an overall basis all the types of gene action, additive, dominance and epistasis were important for drought resistance in common bean. Both additive and non-additive types of gene action were important in governing the inheritance of the traits considered. However, additive types of gene actions were important in the inheritance of number of pod per plant in Roba-1 × SER-16 and above ground biomass in Melka-Dima × SAB-623 under drought stress. Medium to high broad and narrow sense heritability were found for most of the traits under both watering regimes. Evidences have unfolded that chances to find stress tolerant breeding material in segregating populations of the two crosses were promising. The presence of significant amount of all types of gene action for the important traits imply that methods which can utilize all of them such as recurrent selection and multiple cross could be employed in breeding beans for drought environments.
Key words: Common bean, drought resistance, gene action, generation mean analysis, heritability, scale test.
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