Journal of Genetics & Genomic Sciences Category: Genetics Type: Research Article

Morphological Variation among and Discriminating Traits of Kersting’s Groundnut Accessions

Gilles Y Chodaton1,2, Eric E Agoyi1*, Thomas A Houndete4, Konoutan M Kafoutchoni1, Hospice S Sossou1, Frejus AK Sodedji1, Sergino Ayi1, Symphorien Agbahoungba1, Flora J Chadare5Appolinaire Adandonon2Raymond Vodouhe3Achille E Assogbadjo1 and Brice A Sinsin1

1 Non-Timber Forest Products And Orphan Crop Species Unit, Laboratory Of Applied Ecology, Faculty Of Agronomic Sciences, University Of Abomey-Calavi, Tri Postal, Cotonou, Benin
2 School Of Crop And Seeds Production And Management, National University Of Agriculture, Ketou, Benin
3 Benin-Bioversity International, Benin
4 Centre De Recherches Agricoles Coton Et Fibres, Institut National Des Recherches Agricoles Du Benin, Cotonou, Benin
5 School Of Sciences And Techniques For Preservation And Processing Of Agricultural Products, National University Of Agriculture, Sakete, Benin

*Corresponding Author(s):
Eric E Agoyi
Non-Timber Forest Products And Orphan Crop Species Unit, Laboratory Of Applied Ecology, Faculty Of Agronomic Sciences, University Of Abomey-Calavi, Tri Postal, Cotonou, Benin
Tel:+229 97989745/95199055,
Email:ericagoyi@gmail.com

Received Date: Nov 10, 2021
Accepted Date: Nov 22, 2021
Published Date: Nov 29, 2021

Abstract

Kersting’s groundnut [Macrotyloma geocarpum(Harms) Maréchal & Baudet] (KG) is a nutritious subterranean grain legume in West and Central Africa. Limited information is available on the morphological traits that discriminate accessions, limiting the use of appropriate breeding strategies. This study aimed to identify discriminating traits and assess diversity among accessions of Kersting’s groundnut. Eighty-one KG accessions from Benin and Burkina Faso were evaluated based on 29 qualitative and quantitative traits. Experiment was conducted as an Alpha lattice design with three replications. Standardized Shannon-Weaver index (H') and descriptive statistics were calculated for qualitative traits. Pearson correlation coefficients, stepwise discriminant analysis, principal component analysis, cluster analysis and canonical discriminant analysis were conducted. Results showed that accessions varied greatly based on growth-habit (H'= 0.68), flower-color (H' = 0.50), seed-eye shape (H' = 0.47), and stem pigmentation (H' = 0.41). Eight quantitative traits, viz.,seed width, seed thickness, number of branches per plant, petiole length, days to 50% flowering, number of seeds per pod, pod-width, and pod-length, were found to significantly discriminate the accessions. Accessions were grouped into three clusters based on quantitative traits. Cluster 1 had accessions with late flowering and good vegetative growth, cluster 2 had accessions with high germination percentage and cluster 3 had accessions with high yield performance. Seed-length varied greatly among accessions, thus indicating the potential for improving yield via seed size.

Keywords

Descriptors, diversity, Kersting’s groundnut,Macrotyloma geocarpum, orphan crops

Introduction

Orphan crops, also known as forgotten or abandoned crops, traditional or underdeveloped crops [1], are crop species that have received only limited attention from researchers. However, most orphan crops are highly nutritious, climate resilient [2], and resistant to commonly occurring crop diseases [3]. Thus, orphan crops can potentially contribute toward food security and nutritional security, and should receive greater research attention. 

Kersting’s groundnut [Macrotyloma geocarpum(Harms) Maréchal & Baudet)] is a multipurpose legume crop grown in West Africa and Central Africa [4,5], where it is endemic. It is reportedly an orphan and underutilized crop species [6,7] that thrives well in semi-arid zones with annual rainfall below 600 mm [8]. Kersting’s groundnut has high nutritional value; 21.3 g of protein per 100 g of grains [9]. The seed is a rich source of crude protein with high levels of essential amino acids, such as phenylalanine (3.2/100 g), histidine (2.1/100 g), lysine and methionine [9]. Seeds have high vitamin content [10]. According to Adazebra [11], Kersting’s groundnut is one of the less-known leguminous crops, but it contributes significantly toward rural nutrition, livelihoods and sustainable development. Highly appreciated in urban areas of Benin, the crop has a high market value, it is the most expensive grain legume in West Africa, costing up to US $ 5-7 per kilogram [12]. Despite its nutritional and economic importance, Kersting’s groundnut cultivation continues to decline in West African countries because of constraints, such as low yield, non-availability of improved varieties, poor storage ability of the grains, and high labor requirements for production [13]. It is not a priority crop for governments and researchers [7,11,14]. 

Agro-morphological characterization is a key step in assessing genetic diversity to describe and classify germplasm of cultivated plants [15,16]. In assessing agro-morphological diversity of cultivated plants, researchers use descriptors. Descriptors of Kersting’s groundnut have not been described, unlike Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea(L.) Verdc.) [17], peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) [18] and pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) [19]. Only a few studies have focused on morphological variations in Kersting’s groundnut. Assogba et al., [14] and Akohoue et al., [20] in Benin and Adu-Gyamfi et al., [6] in Ghana and Bayorbor et al., [21] in Nigeria found significant variation for various traits among accessions. 

The present study aimed at filling the above-mentioned gaps by i) assessing diversity among a regional germplasm collection obtained from Benin and Burkina Faso, and ii) identifying discriminating traits that could be included in a list of descriptors to be used for morphological characterization of kersting’s groundnut.

Materials And Methods

Study area 

The study was carried out at a research station in the Regional Center of Agricultural Research (CRA-CF) in Djidja, village of Djegbatin (7°19'04.362'' N and 1°54'58.914'' E). The climate of Djidja is sub-equatorial and the rainfall is bimodal, with a tendency to a unimodal pattern. The soils are ferralitic, ferruginous and hydromorphic. Rainfall, temperature, sunshine, and relative humidity during the period of experimentation are presented in table 1. 

Climatic parameter

August

September

October

November

December

Rainfall (mm)

82.5

183.2

138

44.2

0

Sunshine

141.3

160.9

201.1

250.6

243.7

Relative Humidy

80

79

78

73

63

Maximum temperature (°C)

30.3

31.2

32

33.9

35.2

Minimum temperature (°C)

22.4

22.8

23.2

23.8

23.2

Average temperature (°C)

26.4

27

27.6

28.9

29.2

Table 1: Monthly average climatic data recorded on study site during experiment. 

Plant material and experimental design 

Genetic material consisted of a collection of 81 accessions, of which 70 were from Benin and 11 from Burkina Faso (Table 2). Planting was done on 23rd August, 2018. The experiment was conducted as an Alpha lattice design, with 9 plots per block × 9 blocks and three replications. Each plot consisted of three rows, each 4.5 m in length. The rows were spaced 0.75 m apart. Plant-to-plant spacing was 0.30 m, giving a plant population of 44500 plants per hectare. Distance between plots was 1 m. One seed was sown per hill at a depth of 5 cm. No fertilizer was applied and weeding was done manually 3 weeks, 7 weeks and 12 weeks after sowing. 

AN†

 

Seed color

 

Origin

1

BUR 9

 

Black seed

 

Burkina-Faso

2

Akl 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

3

Agn2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

4

Soh

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

5

Ats

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

6

Adc

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

7

Hhg

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

8

Hou

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

9

Viv

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

10

Dkp

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

11

BUR 13

 

Cream seed

 

Burkina-Faso

12

Dgo

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

13

BUR 14

 

Cream seed

 

Burkina-Faso

14

Odm 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

15

Aso

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

16

Sag 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

17

Gbo5

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

18

Gbn1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

19

Odm 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

20

BUR 18

 

Black seed

 

Burkina-Faso

21

Lal3

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

22

BUR 10

 

Cream seed

 

Burkina-Faso

23

Kah 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

24

Gbo3

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

25

Gbo1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

26

Itk 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

27

Akl 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

28

Kno 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

29

Lal2

 

Black seed

 

Benin

30

Tow1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

31

BUR 15

 

Cream seed

 

Burkina-Faso

32

LeAd1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

33

Itk

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

34

Kno 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

35

Add

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

36

Lam 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

37

Gbo4

 

Brown seed

 

Benin

38

Ena2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

39

Hay 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

40

Agc

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

41

Bin

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

42

Oua

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

43

Sag 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

44

Zku

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

45

BUR 7

 

Cream seed

 

Burkina-Faso

46

Ena1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

47

Gbn 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

48

Itk 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

49

BUR 8

 

Black seed

 

Burkina-Faso

50

Agn1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

51

Zhla3

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

52

Tos

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

53

Lgz

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

54

Zhla1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

55

Gta1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

56

Dog

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

57

BUR 12

 

Cream seed

 

Burkina-Faso

58

Gbo2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

59

Kin

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

60

TON

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

61

Dov

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

62

Kem

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

63

Adj

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

64

Zhla2

 

Black seed

 

Benin

65

Ali 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

66

Ako

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

67

Hay 2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

68

BUR 16

 

Black seed

 

Burkina-Faso

69

LeAd2

 

Black seed

 

Benin

70

Kah 1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

71

Zke

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

72

Dra

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

73

Bod

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

74

Agb

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

75

Sem2

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

76

MLK

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

77

Sem1

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

78

Atc

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

79

Fol

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

80

BUR 3

 

Cream seed

 

Burkina-Faso

81

Gta3

 

Cream seed

 

Benin

Table 2: Name, seed color and origin of Kersting’s groundnut accessions used in this study. 

Data collection and analysis 

Seventeen quantitative traits [germination percentage, number of leaves per plant, number of flowers per plant, number of pods per plant, yield, number of branches per plant, days to 50% flowering, 100-seed weight, seed length, seed width, seed thickness, leaf length, leaf width, petiole length, pod length, pod width, and number of seeds per pod and 12 qualitative traits were evaluated (Table 3). 

 

Qualitatives traits

 

 Levels of qualitative traits

 

Growth habit

 

Erect

 

 

Semi- erect

 

 

Prostrate

 

Stem pigmentation

 

Present

 

 

Absent

 

Terminal leaflet shape

 

Suborbicular

 

 

Oblong-eliptic

 

Leaflet color

 

Green-dark

 

 

Green-intermediate

 

Flower color

 

White tinged with purple

 

 

 

 

Greenish white

 

Pod shape

 

narrow top

 

 

large top

 

Pod color

 

White

 

 

 

 

White tinged with purple

 

Pod texture

 

Many grooves

 

 

A few groove

 

 Easy Pod detachment

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

 

No

 
 

Seed shape

 

Elongated

 

 

Spherical

 

Seed color

 

Black

 

 

Cream

 

 

red-brown

 

Seed Eye shape

 

Triangular

 
 

 

butterfly

 

Table 3: Qualitative morphological traits evaluated. 

The traits measured were adapted from the lists of descriptors of closely related and similar subterranean legume species, such as Bambara groundnut [Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc] and peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.), described in IPGRI et al., [17] and IBPGR and ICRISAT [18], respectively. Observations were made on 20 randomly selected plants within each plot. Standardized Shannon-Weaver index (H') was calculated for the qualitative traits [22,23]. For the quantitative traits, descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, minimum, maximum, coefficient of variation) were calculated. 

Although studies have used the standardized Shannon-Weaver diversity index (H’) for both quantitative and qualitative traits [22,23], this study used coefficient of variation for quantitative traits. In fact, the calculation of H’ requires recording continuous data into a set of discrete categories (i.e., binning). However, evidence shows that binning often results in loss of information because of reduction in data points [24,25]. Besides, the choice of the cut-off point and the amplitude of the defined phenotypic classes are totally arbitrary and left to the discretion of the researcher, leading to difficulties in comparing results across studies. 

Coefficient of Variation (CV) was computed as the ratio between standard deviation and the mean, multiplied by 100, which was used to assess the level of genetic variation in quantitative traits.

CV = (S/x) *100 [26]

where CV = the Coefficient of Variation, S = the standard deviation and x = the mean.

H' for qualitative traits was calculated in Microsoft Excel based on phenotypic frequencies of each trait to evaluate the variability among accessions using the following formula

where H' is the standardized Shannon-Weaver diversity index, k is the number of phenotypic classes for a given qualitative trait, n is the frequency of the phenotypic class for each trait and N is the total number of observations.

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using a linear mixed model for alpha lattice designs was used to test for differences among accessions for quantitative traits. The linear mixed model used was as follows (genotypes were considered fixed effects and replications and blocks random effects):

  Pearson's correlation was used to examine the relationship between yield and other quantitative traits. Further, quantitative trait data were subjected to stepwise discriminant analysis to determine the traits that best discriminated the accessions. Canonical discriminant analysis was performed to describe seed and flower color based on discriminating traits. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was performed to determine the patterns of agro-morphological variation. Hierarchical classification was done to group the accessions. Thereafter, descriptive statistics and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to describe the clusters. All analyses were performed in R software 3.5.2 [28].

Results And Discussion

The standardized Shannon Weaver diversity index (H′) values ranged from 0.16 to 0.68 (Table 4). There was a high level of phenotypic variation among accessions for plant growth habit (H’=0.68) and flower color (H’=0.50). Moderate variation was observed for seed eye shape, easy pod detachment, stem pigmentation and seed coat color. Pod color, terminal leaflet shape, terminal leaflet color, pod shape and pod texture exhibited a relatively low level of variation (Table 4). Growth habit and flowers color could be used as key qualitative descriptors for Kersting’s groundnut. 

The majority (73%) of the accessions in the collection exhibited prostrate growth habit. This was insightful and could inform breeding strategies. For instance, Ndiang et al., [29] reported prostrate growth habit as a good yield predictor in Bambara groundnut, a subterranean legume crop similar to Kersting’s groundnut. In addition, all accessions from Burkina Faso had elongated seed (Table 4), which could be used for yield improvement and selection for big seed. 

Qualitative traits

 

Levels of variables

 

Accessions

   

Benin

 

Burkina

 

Collection

   

Frequency

Proportion

H’

 

Frequency

Proportion

H’

 

Frequency

Proportions

H’

Growth habit

 

 

 

 

erect

 

5

7.14

0.67

 

1

9.09

0.68

 

6

7.4

0.67

 

prostrate

 

49

70

 

10

90.9

 

59

72.83

 

semi- erect

 

16

22.85

 

0

0

 

16

19.75

         

Stem pigmentation

 

 

Present

 

5

7.14

0.40

 

7

63.63

0.41

 

12

14.81

0.40

 

Absent

 

65

92.85

 

4

36.36

 

69

85.18

Terminal leaflet form

 

 

Suborbicular

 

69

98.57

0.22

 

9

81.81

0.23

 

78

96.29

0.22

 

Oblong-eliptic

 

1

1.42

 

2

18.18

 

3

3.70

Leaflet color

 

 

Green-dark

 

68

97.14

0.22

 

10

90.9

0.23

 

78

96.29

0.22

 

Green-intermediate

2

2.85

 

1

9.09

 

3

3.70

Flower color

 

 

 

White tinted with purple

 

6

8.57

0.50

 

3

27.27

0.50

 

9

11.11

0.50

       
 

Greenish white

 

64

91.42

 

8

72.72

 

72

88.88

Pod shape

 

 

narrow top

 

68

97.14

0.22

 

10

90.90

0.23

 

78

96.29

0.22

 

large top

 

2

2.85

 

1

9.09

 

3

3.70

Pod color

 

 

White

 

66

94.28

0.28

 

11

100

0.28

 

77

95.06

0.28

 

White tinted withe purple

4

5.71

 

0

0

 

4

4.93

Pod texture

 

 

Many grooves

 

69

98.57

0.16

 

10

90.90

0.16

 

79

97.53

0.16

 

A few grooves

 

1

1.42

 

1

9.09

 

2

2.46

Easy Pod detachment

 

 

Yes

 

31

44.28

0.47

 

6

54.54

0.46

 

45

55.55

0.47

 

No

 

39

55.71

 

5

45.45

 

36

44.44

Seed shape

 

Elongated

 

67

95.71

0.22

 

11

100

0.23

 

78

96.29

0.22

   

Spherical

 

3

4.28

 

0

0

 

3

3.7

Seed coat color

 

 

 

 

Black

 

3

4.28

0.32

 

4

36,36

0.33

 

7

8.64

0.32

 

Cream

 

66

94.28

 

7

63.63

 

73

90.12

 

Brown

 

1

1.42

 

0

0

 

1

1.23

Seed Eye shape

 

 

 

Irregular

 

0

0

0.47

 

6

54.54

0.47

 

6

7.4

0.47

 

Triangular

 

2

2.85

 

4

36.36

 

6

7.4

 

butterfly

 

68

97.14

 

1

9.09

 

69

85.18

Table 4: Phenotypic variability observed in accessions based on the calculation of the Standardized Shannon-Weaver index (H’). 

Most accessions (88.88%) had greenish-white flowers (Figure 1a) and 11.11% had purple-tinted white flowers (Figure 1b). Similarly, 95.06% of the accessions had white pods (Figure 1c) and only 4.93% had white pods with purple tint (Figure 1d). Three colors of seed coat were observed among the germplasm collection. Most accessions (90.12%) had cream seed coat (Figure 1e), whereas 8.64% had black seed coat (Figure 1f) and 1.23% brown-red seeds (Figure 1g). This result could be explained by the fact that black-seeded and the brown-seeded accessions were rare and produced by a few households at a small scale [30]. 

Similarly, three variants were observed regarding seed eye shapes. Most accessions (85.18%) had triangular seed eyes (Figure 1i), whereas 7.40% had butterfly-like seed eyes (Figure 1h), and 7.40% had irregular seed eyes (Figure 1j).

Figure 1: 1a) greenish-white flowers, Fig 1b) purple-tinted white flowers, Fig 1c) white pod Fig 1d) purple tinted-white, Fig 1e) Cream coat seed, Fig 1f) Black coat seed, Fig 1g) brown coat seed, Fig 1h) butterfly shape eyes, Fig 1i) triangular eyes, Fig 1j) irregular eyes.

Grain yield and yield components, such as number of pods, number of flowers and number of branches per plant, showed relatively high coefficients of variation (34.78% - 50.19%) (Table 5). This is consistent with findings from previous studies, which reported high and significant coefficients of variation for number of flower per plant of bambara groundnut [15] cowpea [31], and Kersting’s groundnut [14]. These relatively high CV values are indicative of the existence of substantial diversity among accessions, offering opportunities for yield improvement in the crop. Similarly, the traits, such as number of pods per plant (CV = 50.19%), number of flowers per plant (CV = 49.51%), germination percentage (CV = 37.42%) and grain yield (CV = 57.84%), exhibited relatively high coefficients of variation, suggesting a wide dispersion around the mean for these traits. This is consistent with findings of previous studies on various leguminous crops, where high and significant coefficients of variation were reported for number of flowers per plant in Bambara groundnut [15], in cowpea [30] and Kersting’s groundnut [14]. However, the study showed low variation for seed size (CV= 5.06 %, 4.63 %, and 5.37 % for seed length, width and thickness, respectively). This observation contrasts with the findings of Assogba et al., [14], who assessed diversity among 31 local Kersting’s groundnut accessions and reported higher CV (14.97% and 15.83%) for seed length and width, respectively. Seed size is an important trait for Kersting’s groundnut, since the tiny seeds make harvesting difficult and cause significant yield loss. In fact, harvesting of Kersting’s groundnut is done by hand-picking pods and shelling consists of thrashing dry pods. Hand-picking of pods with tiny seeds is difficult, and the chances of leaving out many pods are high. In addition, tiny seeds lead to increased loss during shelling. The importance of seed size in Kersting’s groundnut has been recognized in previous studies. For instance, Amujoyegbe et al., [32] reported small seed size to be one of the major causes of a decline in Kersting’s groundnut production in Nigeria. Breeding for bigger seeds, in addition to improving yield, would remove women’s drudgery when hand-picking and shelling Kersting’s groundnut pods. Consistent with Assogba et al., [14] [100-seed weight, (10.70 to 14.71 g)] and Akohoue et al., [20] [100-seed weight (7.10 to 16.28 g)], the present study showed significant variation (p < 0.001) for 100-seed weight (8.14 to 18.64 g) (Table 5). 

 This could be explained by different experimental conditions (climatic and soil conditions), as reported by Khan et al., [33] that accumulation of reserves in seeds depended on the type of genotypes but also climatic factors. In fact, the present study was conducted on a well-watered fallow in the top Kersting’s groundnut-producing area, known as the food basket of southern Benin. Nevertheless, investigations need to be pursued further, with multi-location trials to fully understand the determinants of yield variation in the crop. 

Descriptors†

Min

Max

Mean ± SE

CV

PG

6.98

90.7

46.37±1.11

37.42

nLe

21.29

132.9

65.75±1.27

30.05

nFlw

3

53.8

16.47±0.52

49.51

nPd

12

264.86

90.32±2.91

50.19

nBrh

2.3

20.8

9.51±0.21

34.78

nDFlw

46

56

48.83±0.12

3.93

SeWt(g)

8.14

18.64

12.92±0.1

11.56

SeL(mm)

6.91

9.69

8.21±0.03

5.06

SeW(mm)

4.74

6.42

5.68±0.02

4.63

Sth (mm)

3.33

4.92

4.26±0.01

5.37

LeL(mm)

52.71

77.96

65.75±0.26

6.19

LeW (mm)

38.03

57

48.66±0.23

7.37

PeL(mm)

81.04

208.83

143.38±1.32

14.41

PoL (mm)

6.45

17.45

12.32±0.11

13.96

PdW(mm)

3.62

9.16

7.72±0.04

8.08

nSP

1

1.73

1.3±0.01

13.67

yield (kg/ha)

239.47

9243.9

2466.89±91.54

57.84

Table 5: Minimum, maximum, mean and variation in traits of Kersting’s groundnut accessions from Benin and Burkina Faso. 

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) performed on quantitative traits showed highly significant differences (p < 0.001) among accessions for seed thickness, percentage of germination, number of flowers per plant, number of days to 50% flowering, seed weight, petiole length and pod length (Table 6). Accessions differed significantly for number of branches per plant, leaflet length (p < 0.01), and leaflet width (P<0.05); other traits, viz., number of pods per plant, pod width, number of seeds per pod, number of leaves per plant and grain yield, did not show significant differences. This difference observed could be explained by genetic variation among the accessions, especially since all the accessions in this study did not have a single origin. 

Mean squares of the 17 quantitative traits of Macrotyloma geocarpum

 

Sources of variation

 

Variables†

Replication

Block

Accession

Residual

 

Df=2

Df=8

Df=80

Df=152

nPd

3796.67 ns

2859.94 ns

3009.66 ns

3674.19

Sth

0.72 ***

0.01 ns

0.07 ***

0.03

PdW

0.85 ns

0.42 ns

0.45 ns

0.35

nSP

0.64 ***

0.02 ns

0.03 ns

0.02

nLe

11701.59 ***

892.41 ***

271.92 ns

224.76

LeW

342.11 ***

9.12 ns

12.67 *

8.22

PG

590.31 **

456.66 ***

615.9 ***

121.36

nDFlw

1546.21 ***

44.24 ns

84.04 ***

38.82

nBrh

85.67 ***

37.52 ***

11.22 **

6.83

nFlw

20.77 ***

5.38 **

6.03 ***

2.03

SeWt

10.94 ***

1.93 ns

3.86 ***

1.2

SeL

0.57 ***

0.11 **

0.34 ***

0.08

SeW

0.28 **

0.02 ns

0.12 ***

0.04

LeL

251.01 ***

17.98 ns

19.30 **

11.92

PeL

10870.68 ***

1145.13 ***

519.38 ***

220.83

PoL

19.70 ***

2.22 ns

4.06 ***

2.11

yield

122789.82 ns

165756.29 *

174349.26 ns

145845.5

Table 6: ANOVA of the 17 quantitative traits of kersting’s groundnut. 

The correlation analysis revealed strong relationships between some of the parameters assessed (Table 7). A positive correlation was observed between 100-seed weight and seed length (r = 0.68), leaflet length (r=0.38) and petiole length (r=0.42). This result corroborates the observations made by Gbaguidi et al., [34] on Bambara groundnut. The positive correlation between some of the traits can be exploited in indirect selection. For instance, the positive correlation between number of pods and yield (r=0.59), is an indication that elite plants can be selected based on visual assessment of pod number. On the other hand, moderate negative and significant correlation (r= -0.17) was found between 50% flowering and number of pods per plant (Table 7). These results corroborate results of Assogba et al., and Yadav et al., [14,35]. 

Quantitative traits†

nPd

Sth

PdW

nSP

nLe

LeW

PG

nFlw

nBrh

nDFlw

SeWt

SeL

SeW

LeL

PeL

PoL

nPd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sth

0.10ns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PdW

0.05ns

0.08ns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nSP

0.02ns

-0.06ns

0.01ns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nLe

0.08ns

0.02ns

 0.10ns

0.11ns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LeW

0.06ns

0.02ns

0.00ns

0.03ns

0.46***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PG

0.05ns

0.24***

0.10ns

0.08ns

0.07ns

0.12ns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nFlw

0.12ns

0.06ns

-0.04ns

0.31***

0.25***

0.21**

0.23***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nBrh

0.00ns

0.08ns

-0.06ns

-0.04ns

0.75***

0.26***

 -0.01ns

 -0.07ns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nDFlw

-0.17**

0-.18**

 -0.08ns

-0.04ns

0.04ns

0.10ns

 0.30***

0.27***

0.08ns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SeWt

0.15*

0.41***

0.14*

0.08ns

-0.06ns

0.02ns

0.29***

0.34***

 -0.14*

-0.42***

 

 

 

 

 

 

SeL

0.12ns

0.22***

0.16*

0.14*

0.00ns

0.13*

0.31***

0.36***

 -0.14*

 -0.37***

0/.00.68***

 

 

 

 

 

SeW

0.17**

0.39***

0.21**

0.07ns

0.08ns

0.28***

0.35***

0.28***

-0.04ns

-0.27***

0.66***

0.80***

 

 

 

 

LeL

0.12ns

0.18**

 -0.02ns

0.08ns

0.23***

0.76***

0.34***

0.43***

0.03ns

-0.26***

0.38***

0.43***

0.46***

 

 

 

PeL

0.10ns

0.25***

0.00ns

0.06ns

0.30***

0.58***

0.50***

0.50***

0.13*

-0.41***

0.42***

0.47***

0.51***

0.77***

 

 

PoL

0.08ns

0.03ns

0.59***

0.76***

 -0.02ns

 -0.02ns

0.18**

0.29***

-0.12ns

-0.19**

0.29***

0.34***

0.27***

0.12ns

0.12ns

 

yield

0.59***

0.12ns

0.05ns

0.35***

0.17**

0.17**

0.07ns

0.30***

0.01ns

-0.17**

0.33***

0.23***

0.32***

0.31***

0.22***

0.38***

Table 7: Correlations between agronomic traits for 81 accessions of Kersting’s groundnut. 

Stepwise Discriminant Analysis (SDA) performed on quantitative traits revealed 8 traits, viz., seed width, seed thickness, number of branches per plant, petiole length, days to 50% flowering, number of seeds per pod, pod width, and pod length, which discriminated the accessions (Table 8). These discriminating traits could be used as descriptors for describing Kersting’s groundnut accessions. In fact, being under-researched, Kersting’s groundnut does not have a list of described descriptors to be used for characterizations, unlike many well-studied crops, whose lists of descriptors for morphological traits have been developed and made available by IPGRI, Bioversity International, USDA, ICRISAT or other well-known or international agricultural research institutes. The eight discriminating traits that were identified constitute a starting point for the establishment of a list of descriptors for the crop. 

Step

Traits†

Wilks.lambda

F.statistics.overall

p.value.overall

F.statistics.diff

p.value.diff

Can1

Can2

1

 PG

0.319

4.31

0

4.31

0

0.31

-0.64

2

SeL

0.11

4

2.39E-26

3.72

0

0.69

-0.08

3

Sth

0.04

3.56

1.22E-32

2.81

0

-0.33

-0.43

4

SeW

0.01

3.47

4.15E-41

3.23

0

-0.27

0.29

5

nDFlw

0

3.11

1.36E-42

1.92

0

-0.26

0.6

6

SeWt

0

2.84

6.08E-43

1.69

0

0.45

-0.49

7

nBrh

0

2.6

7.80E-42

1.4

0.03

0.69

-0.34

Table 8: Summary of the stepwise discriminant analysis identifying quantitatives traits that differentiated of kersting’s groundnut accessions and correlation between discriminating traits and the canonical axes. 

Canonical Discriminant Analysis (CDA), performed to describe seed color of accessions based on discriminating traits, showed two axes that explained 100% of the variation, with the axis 1 capturing 96.6% of the variation (Figure 2). Seed thickness, number of branches per plant and days to 50% flowering were correlated with the first axis on the positive side, whereas seed width, petiole length, number of seeds per pod was on the negative side. Thus, axis 1 can be considered indicative of vegetative growth. Seed width, seed thickness, pod length and pod width were correlated with the second axis on the positive side, whereas number of branches per plant and petiole length were correlated with the second axis on the negative side. Most of these traits were related to yield. Thus, axis 2 can be considered a yield-components axis (Figure 2). Overall, black-seeded accessions had wide seed, long pods, a high number of seeds per pod and long petioles; brown seeds had high pod width, whereas cream-colored seed took more days to reach 50% flowering, and had higher number of branches and thicker seeds (Figure 2).

 Figure 2: Projection of discriminating traits with seed coat color onto the canonical axes 1 and 2.

Overall, accessions with white flowers had thick seeds, whereas accessions with purple flowers had thin seed, and low seed length, leaflet width and petiole length (Figure 3). Thus, white-flower accessions exhibited higher performance for yield components and could be used as donor parents in breeding programs.

 Figure 3: Boxplots showing relationship between flower color and quantitative traits. 

In total, significant morphological variation, beyond seed and flower colors, existed among accessions of Kersting’s groundnut. However, the genetic nature of such variation can only be understood if molecular characterization using appropriate marker systems, such as Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) or Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) is performed. To date, only one molecular diversity study has been reported using isozymes in this species and no diversity was observed [36]. This state of knowledge needs to be improved and the use of the Next Generation Sequencing Technology may help broaden our knowledge of the genetic diversity in the species. 

Principal Component Analysis (PCA) revealed that the first three components had eigenvalues of >1.00 and accounted for 56.4 % of the total variability. The first Principal Component (PC1), which explained 33.3% of the total variation, was positively associated with seed width, petiole length, leaflet length, germination percentage, pod length, seed length, number of flowers per plant and 100-seed weight; whereas days to 50% flowering was correlated with PC1 on the negative side. The first principal component (PC1) explained yield traits. The PC2 explained 13.8 % of the total variation and was positively correlated with number of branches per plant, number of leaves per plant and leaflet width. Seed thickness was correlated with the second PC on the negative side (Figure 4).

 Figure 4: PCA biplot of quantitative trait for 81 Kersting's groundnut accessions (Axis 1 and 2). 

The second Principal Component (PC2) explained vegetative growth. The third PC accounted for 9.3 % of the total variation and was positively correlated with pod width and leaflet width; whereas yield and number of pods per plant were negatively correlated with the third principal component (Figure 5). The PCA showed that accessions with a high number of flowers also had long pods, long and heavy seeds, long leaflets and high 100-seed weight. Most of the accessions in that group were from Burkina Faso (BUR3, BUR7, BUR8, BUR9, BUR13, BUR14, BUR15, BUR16 and BUR18) and a few from Benin (Gbo4, LeAd2 and Zhla2) (Figure 4). Moreover, the accessions that had a high leaflet length also had high number of leaves and branches. Accessions falling into this category were from Benin (Zhla1, Ako and Zke) (Figure 5). In addition, accessions that had high seed thickness also had high leaflet width and high number of pods per plant (Figure 5). Such accessions were Odm2, Agn1, Aso, Kno2, Fol, and Tos, all from Benin.

 Figure 5: PCA biplot of quantitative trait for 81 Kersting's groundnut accessions (Axis 1 and 3). 

The UPGMA (un weighted pair group method with arithmetic mean) dendrogram based on discriminating quantitative traits classified the accessions into three clusters (Figure 6).

 Figure 6: Hierarchical clustering of Kersting's groundnut accessions based on quantitative traits. 

The first, second and third clusters contained 68, 3 and 10 accessions, respectively. The first cluster (C1) was composed of high number of branches per plant (10.03 ± 0.23), high number of leaves per plant (67±1.3), high number of days to 50% flowering (49.26 ± 0.13) and wide leaflet width (49.03±0.21 mm). Accessions belonging to cluster C1 also had low 100-seed weight (12.54 ± 0.09 g), small seed length (8.11 ± 0.03 mm) and low number of flowers per plant (14.7 ± 0.39) (Table 9). Overall, cluster C1 was characterized by accessions with high vegetative growth and late flowering. Cluster C2 was characterized by a significant (p<0.001) germination percentage (60.47 ± 4.72), high number of flowers per plant (25.8±0.6) and wide petiole length (165.82 ± 2.53 mm), and lower number of days to 50% flowering (46.11 ± 0.11). In addition, accessions in cluster 2 had medium number of branches per plant (7.57 ± 1.17) and medium seed length (8.30 ± 0.12 mm) (Table 9) compared to accessions in clusters 1 and 3. Cluster C3 was characterized by high 100-seed weight (15.18 ± 0.29g), high seed length (8.88 ± 0.12 mm), high pod width (7.94± 0.06), wide leaflet length (69.4 ± 0.71) and wide seed width (6 ± 0.06 mm) but low number of branches per plant (6.56 ± 0.37). Overall, cluster C3 was characterized by accessions with high performance for yield components (Table 9). In Benin, accessions with cream seed coat and eye color (pure cream) are preferred the most. Accessions in cluster 3 showed high performances for yield-related traits, such as seed weight, seed length and seed width. These accessions were Zhla 2, Gbo 4, BUR 3, BUR 7, BUR 8, BUR 9, BUR 14, BUR 16 and BUR 18, all having black or brown seed coat or black-eyed seeds; none of these accessions had pure cream color. Breeding efforts could therefore perform backcross between pure cream accessions and accessions from cluster 3 to obtain improved pure cream varieties with high yield performance. 

Variables

Cluster 1(n=68)

 

Cluster 2(n=3)

 

Cluster 3(n=10)

F-test

Mean ±SE

CV(%)

Min

Max

 

Mean ±SE

CV(%)

Min

Max

 

Mean ±SE

CV(%)

Min

Max

 

PdW

7.73±0.04a

4.52

6.27

8.28

 

6.84±0.36b

9.06

6.22

7.46

 

7.94±0.06a

2.39

7.72

8.39

***

nLe

67.53±1.30a

15.92

38.11

94.3

 

55.73±3.19b

9.92

49.37

59.33

 

56.61±2.92b

16.31

40

72.1

**

LeW

49.03±0.21a

3.53

44.88

53.25

 

43.76±0.88b

3.48

42.34

45.37

 

47.57±0.88a

5.87

43.08

53.06

***

PG

44.61±1.71a

31.66

20.93

79.84

 

60.47±4.72a

13.51

51.94

68.22

 

54.11±4.25a

24.82

37.21

78.29

*

nFlw

14.72±0.39b

22.12

9.03

23.25

 

25.8±2.06a

13.84

21.7

28.23

 

25.59±1.54a

19.03

17.63

33.67

***

nBrh

10.03±0.23a

18.58

6.31

15.2

 

7.57±1.70ab

38.95

4.17

9.4

 

6.56±0.37b

17.66

5.2

8.46

***

nDFlw

49.26±0.13a

2.21

47.33

53

 

46.11±0.11b

0.42

46

46.33

 

46.7±0.27b

1.79

46

48.33

***

SeWt

12.54±0.09b

5.71

11.06

13.87

 

14.03±0.19a

2.34

13.83

14.41

 

15.18±0.29a

6

13.63

16.73

***

SeL

8.11±0.03b

2.6

7.61

8.67

 

8.3±0.12ab

2.58

8.08

8.5

 

8.88 ± 0.12a

4.12

8.36

9.29

***

SeW

5.64±0.02b

2.83

5.31

6.16

 

5.58±0.06b

1.91

5.51

5.7

 

6 ±0.06a

3.07

5.72

6.29

***

LeL

65.21±0.26b

3.32

59.88

70.44

 

65.8±0.94b

2.46

64.56

67.64

 

69.4±0.71a

3.23

66.1

72.82

***

PeL

140.29±1.30b

7.65

110.42

165

 

165.82±2.53a

2.64

160.78

168.56

 

157.6±3.3a

6.62

140.41

175.8

***

PoL

12.05±0.11b

7.49

9.36

14.35

 

11.55±0.56b

8.36

10.73

12.61

 

14.41±0.25a

5.54

13.07

15.75

***

Table 9: Mean values and standard errors of discriminating traits in Kersting’s groundnut accessions.

Conclusion

The evaluation of 81 KG accessions based on the 29 traits revealed high diversity, both for qualitative and quantitative traits. Three diversity groups were identified based on the quantitative traits. Three clusters were characterized by late flowering, good vegetative growth, high germination percentage and high yield performance. Besides, the study identified seed width, seed thickness, number of branches per plant, petiole length, days to 50% flowering, number of seeds per pod, pod width, and pod length as the quantitative traits that best discriminate the accessions. This could be a starting point for the establishment of a list of descriptors to be measured while studying the crop. Additional accessions should be investigated and molecular characterization studies be conducted to fully understand diversity patterns.

Acknowledgement

The authors are grateful to NOW-WOTRO for financial support that enabled field experiments. Acknowledgment goes to the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) for funding part of the experiments through Carnegie Cooperation of New York. We are grateful to The World Academy of Science (TWAS) for its support. We are grateful to the Benin Institute of Agricultural Research (INRAB) that has provided site and technical support for the experiments.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Authors contributions

AEE, SFAK, HS and VR designed the study. CYG, AEE and HS conducted the experiments. CYG and SA actively participated in data collection. KK and SA analysed the data with support from AEE. HAT provided study site and technical guidance. CYG, AEE, KK, HS and SFAK developed the manuscript. VR, AS, AA, CJF, AAE and BS provided guidance throughout experiment, data collection and management, and manuscript development. All authors reviewed, improved the manuscript and agree to be accountable for the final manuscript.

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Citation: ChodatonGY, AgoyiEE,HoundétéTA, KafoutchoniKM, SossouHS (2021) Morphological variation among and discriminating traits of Kersting’s groundnut accessions. J Genet Genomic Sci 6: 031.

Copyright: © 2021  Gilles Y Chodaton, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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