Trends and Implications of Genotype by Environment Interaction in South African Sugarcane Breeding
Genotype by environment interaction (GxE) influences and complicates the selection of superior genotypes in trials by confounding the determination of true genetic values. In South Africa, variety trials are planted at several locations and harvested in the plant to third ratoon crops. The objective of this study was to determine the trends in components of GxE and their implications. The MIXED procedure of Statistical Analysis System (SAS) was used to estimate variance components. Genotype by location interaction was significant for the irrigated and coastal long-cycle programs, indicating the importance of identifying and characterizing sites. Genotype by crop-year interaction was larger and more significant for rain-fed than for irrigated cropping system, indicating the importance of ratooning ability in rain-fed regions. Genotype by location by crop-year interaction was significant (P < 0.01) for yield and sucrose content, highlighting the complexity associated with breeding sugarcane. The coastal long-cycle program was the most complex and generally characterized by large GxE. Separating the coastal hinterland and coastal average potential would be recommended to reduce GxE.
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