Gene Loss in Pearl Millet Germplasm Pools1
- 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 lossPlease view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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