Agronomic Performance of Soybean Plant Introductions and Their Genetic Similarity to Elite Lines
- C. H. Sneller ,
- J. W. Miles and
- J. M. Hoyt
North American soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] is derived from a narrow genetic base. Plant introductions (PI) and cultivars from the northern USA may be sources of diversity for southern U.S. cultivars. Screening diverse lines for agronomic value may identify potential parents that facilitate breeding for diversity. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the association of agronomic value and genetic diversity of selected PIs and to conduct a preliminary comparison of their value in the South with that of selected northern U.S. cultivars. Field evaluations of 31 PIs, 11 populations derived from cross of five northern cultivars × southern lines, and 15 southern lines were conducted at five environments in Arkansas. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) data from 60 loci were collected from all PIs, parents of the populations, and 57 southern elite lines. The agronomic value of most PIs was low because of excessive shattering, lodging, and/or poor yield. Exceptions were noted. The estimated yield potential of most of the northern cultivars exceeded the mean yield of the PIs and they had less shattering than the PIs. The PIs and the northern cultivars were genetically divergent from the southern elite population and from each other. The agronomic value and relative diversity of the PIs were independent. Diverse PIs with above average agronomic value were identified. These PIs may serve as sources of genetic diversity that can be exploited through simple breeding schemes. The southern PIs and northern lines may act as complementary gene pools to provide desirable genes for diversifying southern U.S. soybean.
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