Genotype × environment interaction for yield and other plant attributes among undomesticated Mediterranean Vicia species
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Jens Berger, Larry D. Robertson, Phil S. Cocks. (1/8/2002). Genotype × environment interaction for yield and other plant attributes among undomesticated Mediterranean Vicia species. Euphytica, 126 (3), pp. 421-435.
In order to investigate the agricultural potential of the genus Vicia, and identify traits associated with productivity and responsiveness to environment, 34 undomesticated Mediterranean accessions representing Section Narbonensis (V. johannis, V. narbonensis) and V. sativa were grown in five contrasting environments in northern Syria (growing season rainfall: 76–290 mm).Highly significant genotype × environment interactions were observed for all traits. For most of the components of yield, accession mean performance (productivity)was highly correlated with responsiveness across environments (r = 0.59–0.96), as defined by joint linear regressions. Thus high yielding genotypes tended to be relatively more productive than low yielding genotypes under conditions that favoured high yields. Regression analysis revealed that mean site yields were positively correlated to rainfall (r = 0.85) and its attendant effect on growing season length as measured by cumulative season temperature and phenology (r = 0.59–0.81).In order to examine yield related traits independently of taxonomy, genotypes were grouped into three categories using K-means clustering based on productivity and responsiveness of seed, hay and biological yield. Highly productive/responsive genotypes were tall with high harvest index, large seeds and low fecundity (seeds and pods per plant), whereas unproductive/unresponsive plants tended to be short, highly fecund, with small seeds and low harvest index. Principal components analysis showed that responsiveness, in terms of seed, hay and biological yields, was closely related to phenological plasticity. Thus highly productive/responsive genotypes were able to start flowering earlier than unproductive/unresponsive genotypes in early environments, but significantly later in late, higher rainfall environments. Plant growth habit was also related to yield responsiveness. In environments with little biomass production the proportion of erect plants was high in all three categories. In more favourable, high biomass environments, the proportion of erect plants in unproductive/unresponsive genotypes fell dramatically, but was unchanged among productive/responsive genotypes. We suggest that for unproductive/unresponsive genotypes competition for light is increased under optimal growth conditions. We argue that the optimal combination of fixed and responsive traits in high yielding genotypes results in a `compound interest-type' response to more favourable environments. Highly productive and responsive genotypes can capture resources more effectively than their low yielding counterparts, leading to a positive relationship between performance and responsiveness for most components of yield. Differences in productivity and responsiveness for seed, hay and biological yield reflected Vicia taxonomy, increasing in the following order from low to high: V. johannis, V. sativa, the small seeded V. narbonensis (salmonea, jordanica, affinis) V. n. var. narbonensis, and finally V. n. var.aegyptiaca. V. n. var. aegyptiaca showed the most agricultural potential, since the taxon contained all the properties of productive/responsive genotypes listed above, yielding >1 t/ha under extremely arid conditions (104 mm),and >2.5 t/ha on 290 mm rainfall, confirming its potential for dry environments.
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