Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is the second most important cultivated legume in the world. The production of Argentina is based on few cultivars (Norteño, Chañaritos S-156, Kiara UNC-INTA, Felipe UNC-INTA, TUC 403, TUC 464 and TUC G 470). As the cultivated area is increasing, it would be important to select new genetic materials better adapted to different agroecological conditions. The objectives of this research were to characterize different accessions of chickpea using quantitative morpho agronomic descriptors, to evaluate the phenotypic variability of genetic materials, determine the descriptors that effectively contribute to the discrimination of genetic materials of the accessions and obtain a canonical function that allows classifying new accessions according to its origin. The characterization of the accessions was carried out on five plants, evaluating 17 agronomic morpho descriptors in the field and laboratory. The results of descriptive statistics revealed that the pod numbers per plant and 100 seed weight variables presented high CV values. Seed weight and volume components were positively associated among them, but negatively correlated to pod numbers per plant. In the Multivariate Profile Analisys, the characters that allowed the greatest differentiation of accessions were seed numbers per plant, pod numbers per plant and yield per plant. In the cluster analysis, there were three groups differentiated by 100 seed weight, height of plant, pod numbers per plant and seed numbers per plant variables. In the principal component analysis, it was found that the first three main components accounted for 66% of the total variation. In C1 the variables that made the greatest contribution to the separation of chickpea types were: pod numbers per plant, seed numbers per plant, seed size, 100 seed weight and height of plant. Discriminant Analysis detected that the most discriminating morpho-agronomic variables were pod numbers per plant and seed numbers per plant. This study allows us to conclude that there is significant variation for all the characters studied. This variability can be used for safe introducing different germplasm and for selecting parents with the highest genetic contrasts for chickpea genetic improvement programs, and broadening the genetic bases of this crop in Argentina.
Keywords: chickpea, variability, accessions, descriptors, multivariate analysis.
1 Universidad Nacional de Salta (UNSa), Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Sede Central y Sede Metán-Rosario de la Frontera, Cátedra de Mejoramiento Genético Vegetal. Av. Bolivia, 5150 (4400), Salta, Argentina. Correo electrónico: email@example.com
2 Universidad Nacional de Salta (UNSa), Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Cátedra de Mejoramiento Genético Vegetal.
3 Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNCo), Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Cátedra de Mejoramiento Genético Vegetal.
4 Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Estación Experimental Agropecuaria (EEA) Cerrillos, Salta.
5 Universidad Nacional de Salta (UNSa), Facultad de Ciencias NaturalesCátedra de Genética.