Genetic diversity of sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) genotypes based on agro-morphological and biochemical traits
Knowledge of genetic diversity is essential for the effective planning of breeding experiments and successful development of an improved variety. Therefore, this study was aimed at assessing the genetic diversity of 196 sugarcane genotypes. The experiment was conducted in a parietal-balanced lattice design with two replications. Data on 13 agromorphological and five biochemical traits were collected and analyzed using both univariate and multivariate statistical methods. Cluster analysis grouped the entire sugarcane genotypes into five, two, and six distinct clusters, respectively, based on agro-morphological, and biochemical traits, and their combinations. The highest intercluster distances were found in clusters three and five from a study of agro-morphological traits and clusters four and five from a combination of agro-morphological, and biochemical traits. The highest intercluster distance values indicate the presence of substantial genetic variability between the genotypes of the pairing clusters, due to highly contrasting and complementing traits as demonstrated by cluster mean analysis, notably for cane and sugar yields. This suggests that cultivars with greater cane and sugar yields can be created by hybridization between the genotypes of the two divergent clusters. Cluster mean analysis based on agro-morphological and biochemical traits revealed that Cluster One genotypes have the highest average sugar yield, suggesting that these genotypes are ideal for selection and hybridization to enhance this particular trait. Generally, the evaluated genotypes have potential diversity in their agro-morphological and biochemical traits, which could be exploited. Additionally, a study of the molecular genetic diversity of these genotypes is required to complement the results of this study.