Houdegbe A.C., Achigan-Dako E.G., Sogbohossou E.O.D., Schranz M.E., Odindo A.O. and Sibiya J. (2022). Phenotypic variation in biomass and related traits among four generations advanced lines of Cleome (Gynandropsis gynandra L. (Briq.)). PLoS ONE 17(10): e0275829. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0275829
Gynandropsis gynandra (spider plant) is an African traditional leafy vegetable rich in minerals, vitamins and health-promoting compounds with potential for health promotion, micronutrients supplementation and income generation for stakeholders, including pharmaceutical companies. However, information on biomass productivity is limited and consequently constrains breeders’ ability to select high-yielding genotypes and end-users to make decisions on suitable cultivation and production systems. This study aimed to assess the phenotypic variability in biomass and related traits in a collection of G. gynandra advanced lines to select elite genotypes for improved cultivar development. Seventy-one advanced lines selected from accessions originating from Asia, West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa were evaluated over two years with two replicates in a greenhouse using a 9 x 8 alpha lattice design. Significant statistical differences were observed among lines and genotype origins for all fourteen biomass and related traits. The results revealed three clusters, with each cluster dominated by lines derived from accessions from Asia (Cluster 1), West Africa (Cluster 2), and East/Southern Africa (Cluster 3). The West African and East/Southern African groups were comparable in biomass productivity and superior to the Asian group. Specifically, the West African group had a low number of long primary branches, high dry matter content and flowered early. The East/Southern African group was characterized by broad leaves, late flowering, a high number of short primary branches and medium dry matter content and was a candidate for cultivar release. The maintenance of lines’ membership to their group of origin strengthens the hypothesis of geographical signature in cleome diversity and genetic driver of the observed variation. High genetic variance, broad-sense heritability and genetic gains showed the potential to improve biomass yield and related traits. Significant and positive correlations among biomass per plant, plant height, stem diameter and leaf size showed the potential of simultaneous and direct selection for farmers’ desired traits. The present results provide insights into the diversity of spider plant genotypes for biomass productivity and represent key resources for further improvement in the species.
Keywords: Breeding; Cleome gynandra; genetic diversity; genetic gain; leaf yield; spider plant