Twenty-two groundnut genotypes collected from different germplasm centers were cultivated in Botanical nursery of the Lagos State University Ojo-Campus during the raining season of 2009. The data collected on 33 characters were subjected to multivariate analysis to study the variability within the genotypes and to determine the efficiency of the methods in classifying genotypes. The first three axes each of factor analysis and principal component analyses (PCA) captured 42 and 55% respectively of the total variance and jointly identified final plant height, leaflet length, stem pigmentation, nodes on the main stem and number of leaves per plant at flowering as characters contributing most to variation. The first three axes of the canonical and discriminant analyses accounted for 85 and 90% of the total variation respectively and identified in addition to the above characters, pod beak, hairiness of mature leaflet, pod constriction, lateral branch pattern and peg colour as important. Genotype clustering using single linkage clustering technique did not follow a particular pattern, as genotypes from different sources were grouped together, while some from same source were also separated into eight different groups. The effect of genetic divergence on the choice of parental stock in improvement breeding programme was discussed.
Key words: Groundnut, factor analysis, principal component analysis, canonical discriminant analysis, single linkage cluster analysis.
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