Assessing Variability and Divergence of Jatropha curcas Linn. Germplasm Under Ex-situ Conditions
An evaluation of 100 genotypes of Jatropha curcas L. was carried out to assess variability and character association and to identify diverse genotypes with superior growth traits. Variability studies revealed that, 39 accessions performed better in terms of above average values for volume index (479.41 cm3), indicating better vigor of the plants. Genotypes IC 555380, IC 555381, IC 555379, IC 569133 were found to be superior on the basis of plant height (100.34 cm), collar diameter (3.59 cm), number of branches (3.34) and volume index (1054.91 cm3) respectively. A wide range of variation was observed for plant height (41.11-100.34 cm), collar diameter (1.95-3.59 cm), branch number (1.36-3.34) and volume index (172.10-1045.91 cm3). Estimates of broad sense heritability ranged from 5.28 to 29.78%, genetic advance in percent of the mean ranged between 4.24 and 32.82 with number of branches giving the lowest value and volume index giving the highest value. All the growth traits showed positive significant correlation at both genetic and phenotypic levels with volume index. Path analysis of growth traits revealed that the height (0.719) is the most pronounced trait contributing directly to volume index followed by collar diameter (0.206) and number of branches (0.110). Diversity analysis using Mahalanobis D2 resulted in 7 clusters. Genotypes in cluster 2,3,4,5, and 6 have combination of desirable traits and can be directly selected for further improvement.