Information on the extent of genetic variability and heritability as well as correlation among agronomically important traits is a requirement to design a suitable plant breeding method. The present research was conducted at Sinana, Southeastern Ethiopia during the 2009 main crop growing season. The experimental material consisted of 16 durum wheat genotypes tested in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Twelve agronomic traits were included in the investigation. Highly significant differences were revealed among durum wheat genotypes for all traits studied, suggesting the possibility of improving durum wheat for these traits. Plant height and number of kernels per spike showed the highest phenotypic and genotypic coefficients of variations and genetic advance, whereas, days to maturity and test weight had the lowest values. Plant height exhibited highest heritability value of 98.3% while number of spikelets per spike showed minimum value of 36.4%. The genotypic correlations estimated showed positive association of grain yield with days for heading (r=0.50), harvest index (r=0.69) and kernels number per spike (r=0.81). Harvest index (1.13) and biomass (0.81) exhibited the highest positive and significant direct effect on grain yield. Hence, these traits could be considered as suitable selection criteria for the development of high yielding durum wheat varieties.
Key words: Correlation coefficient, durum wheat, genetic advance, heritability, path coefficient.
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