Jatropha curcas has received considerable attention from researchers as a potential source of non-edible vegetable oil which is eminently suitable for production of liquid bio fuel, meeting international standards. For any tree improvement and breeding programme, study of variation among the populations is prerequisite as it helps in the detection of relative performance of various traits of economic value. 28 candidate plus trees were selected from the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar in Eastern India. Nine seed parameters were measured and their genetic values and correlation was calculated to serve as base information for further improvement and breeding of J. curcas in Eastern India. Significant genetic differences exist in all the seed characteristics among the different candidate plus trees of J. curcas. Positive direct effect of seed width and protein content was observed on seed oil content. Indirect effect of seed traits via seed width was positive. Thus, seed width can be taken as a criterion for selecting trees with good oil yield. The variations in most studied parameters were under genotypic control among seed sources. Highest coefficient of variation was found for seed oil content emphasizing the need of wide scale screening and selection of superior genotypes to capture the existing variability.
Key words: Candidate plus trees, correlation, genetic gain, heritability, seed oil.
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