F1 progenies derived from a set of diallel crosses involving native and 5 elite cucumber varieties were evaluated in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications to study combining ability for some important agronomic traits. The analysis of variance revealed that the mean squares due to genotypes were significant for the traits studied, indicating wide diversity among the parents. Mean squares for general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) were significant, implying both additive and non-additive genetic system controlling the studied traits. Significant GCA values were recorded by the native variety (Odukpani) for vegetative traits, fruit girth and average fruit weight. Low GCA values were recorded for days to flowering by the elite varieties, implying they are negative combiners for early flower influx. GCA for number of pistillate flowers and number of fruits per plant were positive and significant for the elite varieties, indicating they could be exploited in cucumber breeding programmes for improved female flower production. The high mean values for vegetative traits and days to flowering of the progenies arising from crosses with Odukpani as the maternal parent appear to suggest cytoplasmic influence in the inheritance of the traits.
Key words: Combining ability, Cucumis sativus, cucumber, gene action.
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