he experimental materials consisted of 36 sugarcane clones including two checks (Co Pant 97222 and Co Pant 3220). Analysis of variance revealed significant differences among all the clones for all the traits under study namely no. of millable canes, cane height, single cane weight, juice sucrose percent , purity percent , cane yield and CCS yield except cane thickness, juice brix and juice extraction percent. The divergence studies through Mahalanobis D2 statistics grouped the 36 genotypes into eleven clusters. The maximum numbers of genotypes (21) were grouped in clusterI and the lowest (1) in cluster VI,VII,VIII,IX,X and XI. Members of cluster VII and XI (46.48) were found to be genetically most diverse on the basis of their inter cluster difference as opposite to clusters I and II (10.77) which are closely related. Cane height contributed maximum (15.397%) towards genetic divergence followed by Single cane weight (14.762%) and no. of millable cane (13.016%). These characters were considered to be most important for the genetic diversity. Lowest contribution was made by juice purity percent (4.286%) followed by Cane thickness(7.301%),Juice extraction percent (7.619%). Genetic diversity is important for sustainable production since greater losses of characteristics in any population limits its chances of survival. Little to no genetic diversity makes crops extremely susceptible to widespread biotic and abiotic stresses. Genetic diversity can be assessed by Mahalanobis D2 statistic, which is a morphometric method and a powerful tool in quantifying the degree of divergence at genotypic level.
Characterization, Clusters, Diversity, D2 statistics
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