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Crop Science Abstract -

Gene Loss in Pearl Millet Germplasm Pools1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 16 No. 2, p. 251-255
    Received: May 16, 1975

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  1. Glenn W. Burton2



Six different germplasm pools of pear millet, Pennisetum americanum (L.) K. Schum. (formerly P. typhoides (Burm.) Stapf and Hubb) were advanced in isolation three to five generations. A comparison of the last generation with the first showed that advancing germplasm pools of this cross-pollinated (up to 85%) species narrowed phenotypic variability, lost genes, and obscured hard to recover characters such as very long seed heads. A significant shift in maturity resulted from an attack of European corn borer. I believe, therefore, that longtime storage is the only practical way to preserve pearl millet germplasm without loss. At Tifton, pearl millet seeds dried to less than 12% moisture, enclosed in airtight containers, and stored at 5 C germinated well (70%) after 26 years. Growing germplasm pools in an environment with short days and temperatures approaching 40 C will make most genotypes flower at about the same time, facilitate intennating, and reduce gene loss. Pooling fewer lines, selecting plants to advance the population as if they were self-pollinated, and preparing pools from equal numbers of live seeds from each selected plant will also help to reduce gene loss

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