Combining ability for beta-carotene and important quantitative traits in a cassava F1 population
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Cassava is ideal for biofortification due to its popularity as a root staple among populations with high vitamin A malnutrition. The crop is vegetatively propagated and retains the enhanced trait across generations. The combining ability for beta-carotene content and important yield trait was evaluated in a cassava F1 generation. Ten high beta-carotene clones from International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) were hybridized with ten local clones in North Carolina Design II mating design. The F1 population was evaluated at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). A total of 125 families were evaluated, including 35 reciprocal crosses. The IITA parents had highly significant (P≤ 0.001) General Combining Ability (GCA) for pulp colour and plant height. The GCA of the local parents was significant (P≤ 0.05) for harvest index, number of lobes (P≤ 0.05) and for plant height (P≤ 0.001). The Specific Combining Ability (SCA) was significant for harvest index and plant height at P≤ 0.05 and P≤ 0.001 respectively. Root pulp colour was influenced by both additive and non-additive genetic effects. There were also material effects associated with the trait. Results indicated that local cassava varieties can be improved for beta-carotene content without a decline in agronomic performance.