Tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter] is an important staple food crop, especially in Ethiopia where it is annually grown on 2.8 million hectares of land. It is important for food security in the region, in spite of having a low yield, mainly due to lodging. In this study, 15 representative landraces as well as three improved varieties have been selected for in-depth characterization of many parameters, especially those implicated in yield. The genotypes were clustered into six groups, mainly based on agronomic traits and about 80% of the diversity in the genotypes could be explained on the basis of four principal components. In general, all traits investigated showed substantial diversity among genotypes, offering high chances for improving tef through direct selection or intra-specific hybridization. Moreover, in view of climatic changes, breeding with early maturing landraces such as Red dabi or Karadebi would be advantageous to cope with moisture scarcity during the later stage of crop maturity.
Key words: Eragrostis tef, landraces, improved varieties, genetic diversity, principal component analysis.
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