Article

Biomass yield and heterosis of crosses within and between European winter cultivars of turnip rape (Brassica rapa L.).

Plant Breeding and Genetics Division, Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, New Tafo-Akim, Ghana.
Journal of applied genetics (Impact Factor: 1.85). 02/2012; 53(1):31-5. DOI: 10.1007/s13353-011-0067-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Because of its high growth rate at low temperatures in early spring, there is renewed interest in Brassica rapa as a winter crop for biomass production in Europe. The available cultivars are not developed for this purpose however. An approach for breeding bioenergy cultivars of B. rapa could be to establish populations from two or more different cultivars with high combining ability. The objective of this study was to evaluate the heterosis for biomass yield in the European winter B. rapa genepool. The genetic variation and heterosis of the biomass parameters: dry matter content, fresh and dry biomass yields were investigated in three cultivars representing different eras of breeding by comparing full-sibs-within and full-sibs-between the cultivars. Field trials were performed at two locations in Germany in 2005-2006. Mean mid-parent heterosis was low with 2.5% in fresh and 3.0% in dry biomass yield in full-sibs-between cultivars. Mean values of individual crosses revealed a higher variation in mid-parent heterosis ranging from 14.6% to -7.5% in fresh biomass yield and from 19.7% to -12.7% in dry biomass yield. The low heterosis observed in hybrids between European winter cultivars can be explained by the low genetic variation between these cultivars as shown earlier with molecular markers. In conclusion, a B. rapa breeding program for biomass production in Europe should not only use European genetic resources, but should also utilize the much wider worldwide variation in this species.

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