Combining high seed number and weight to improve seed yield potential of chickpea in India.
Increasing seed size and seed weight is an important trait for trade, yield component and adaptation of chickpea (Cicer arietinum). Information on genetic control of such component traits has been generated in chickpea mostly based on germplasm/breeding lines. We studied three chickpea segregating populations to determine seed number and weight, as potential characters for yield improvement through correlation and path coefficients analysis. Three F2 populations, along with their four parents, were studied under irrigated conditions. Estimates of heritability varied from 19.84 to 98.51%, depending on traits and crosses. However, its magnitude was high (> 65%) in all the crosses for seed yield per plant, 100-seed weight, plant height and primary branches per plant. Seed yield per plant was correlated strongly with seeds per plant (r=0.84-0.91), pods per plant (r=0.64-0.79), 100-seed weight (r=0.50-0.66) and biological yield (r=0.50-0.68). Seeds per plant exhibited a significant positive association with pods per plat (r=0.73-0.83) and biological yield (r=0.41-0.64), Path analysis confirmed that the number of seeds per plant (0.672 to 0.821) and 100-seed weight (0.441 to 0.501) had the highest positive direct influence on grain yield per plant. Both traits also displayed a positive indirect effect considerably to biological yield per plant and harvest index. Thus, combined selection for seed number and weight would be fruitful to improve yield potential of chickpea.
Key Words: Cicer arietinum, heritability, path coefficient