Inheritance of root dry matter content in sweetpotato.
There has been much emphasis on breeding for increased sweetpotato storage root yield, but less on dry matter yield, and its inheritance. High dry matter content (DMC) is associated with consumer preferences, and is important for the processing industry. This study was conducted to determine the type of gene action controlling DMC and to assess genotype by environment (G x E) interaction effect on DMC in sweetpotato. Five parental clones varying in DMC were hand-crossed in a half-diallel design to generate ten families. Ten genotypes of each family were planted in a trial at Namulonge (swamp and upland environments) and Serere in Uganda in 2009 and 2010. Highly significant (P<0.001) differences were found both between genotypes and between families for DMC. High significant general combining ability (GCA) (P<0.001) and specific combining ability (SCA) (P<0.01) were obtained, meaning that the differences among families for high DMC were due to both GCA and SCA. The relative importance of GCA and SCA was 0.59, indicating that additive gene action was slightly more predominant than non-additive gene action in predicting progeny performance for high DMC. Broad sense heritability (H) estimates for DMC were 0.70 and 0.73, respectively on genotype and family means across environments basis, suggesting that DMC was moderately influenced by the environment. Rapid selection for best genotypes would be possible, since progenies can be predicted from the phenotype of the parents. Parent SPK (GCA = 1.02) was the best combiner. The effect of location was less significant compared to seasons, suggesting the need to evaluate genotypes for several seasons, but in few locations to save resources.
Key Words: General combining ability, half-diallel, Ipomoea batatas, Uganda