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Journal of Applied Genetics 48(2), 2007, pp. 125-128

Genetic base of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) cultivars in Sri Lanka as revealed by pedigree analysis

Chandima Ariyarathna, Kumudini Gunasekare

Abstract: An understanding of genetic diversity and relationships among breeding materials is a prerequisite for crop improvement. Coefficient of parentage (COP) can be used to measure the genetic diversity among genotypes on the basis of pedigree information. In the present study, COP was estimated for 56 cultivars, including commercial tea cultivars developed by the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka and their parental lines. Mean COP of the 56 accessions studied was 0.097 and the value was raised up to 0.272 when non-related pair-wise comparisons were excluded. A single cultivar (Assam/Cambod introduction) was the nucleus of the commercial cultivars. Group mean COP of the cultivars derived from Assam/Cambod parentage was 0.17. Thirty-three percent of the pair-wise comparisons had 0.00 COP, highlighting that many cultivars were unrelated. Within the pedigree, 2 major COP clusters were identified: Assam/Cambod open-pollinated half-sib progenies, and full-sib progenies derived from crosses between Assam/Cambod and other parental lines. The elite groups within the pedigree, where Assam/Cambod parentage was concentrated, were also identified. Information generated in this study should be useful for effective utilization of available diversity in future breeding programmes as well as for proper conservation of genetic diversity in the adapted germplasm. This is the first report on estimates of genetic diversity based on COP in a woody perennial crop, such as tea.

Key words: Camellia sinensis L., cluster analysis, coefficient of parentage, genetic diversity, parental lines, pedigree, tea.

Correspondence: Ch. Ariyarathna, Division of Plant Breeding, Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka, Talawakelle, Sri Lanka; email:

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