Kwanu Local – A High Yielding Traditional Maize Cultivar of Jaunsar Tribal Region of Uttarakhand and a Promising Genetic Resource for Maize Improvement
Globally maize is the second most important crop in terms of acreage where as in India it ranks third after wheat and rice. Maize productivity has been breaking unprecedented barriers owing chiefly to wide scale cultivation of high yielding hybrids. Sustaining high yields of hybrids necessitates continued efforts for creation of novel gene assemblages and/or discovery of such naturally existing constellations. Traditional local cultivars are an important source of the latter. Kwanu Local is an example of such a traditional cultivar that contributes significantly towards sustaining food, fodder and fuel requirement of Jaunsari tribal community of Kwanu cluster in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. It is a tall, high yielding, medium duration, semi-dent yellow bold-grained cultivar and owes its characteristic present form to multiple infusions from diverse populations that have taken place over the long history of its cultivation in the region. Its cultivation over a vast contiguous expanse and the selection practices followed by the farming community ensure maintenance of high heterozygosity in the population, assuring sustained high yields. The cultivar possesses many desirable features that make it a potential genetic resource for a variety of traits of agronomic importance (cob length, cob girth, number of kernels/row and kernel size). Its use for increasing kernel size has been well demonstrated. Kernel size in the backcross progenies involving inbreds VQL 1 (255 g) and V 400 (215 g) as recipients and Kwanu Local (343 g) as donor exhibited kernel size range of 260-293 g (VQL 1 x Kwanu Local) and 228-245 g (V 400 x Kwanu Local), showing increase of 6-14 and 2-15%, respectively, in the two crosses. With its local adaptability and high yield coupled with other desirable traits, Kwanu Local holds potential as a promising genetic resource for maize improvement.
Genetic resource; Jaunsar, Kernel size; Kwanu Local; Traditional cultivar
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