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  • 1 Global Theme on Crop Improvement, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Patancheru 502 324 Andhra Pradesh India
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Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a potential raw material for production of ethanol that on blending in petrol is expected to meet the energy demand and address the environmental issues. Well-developed hybrid technology will make the crop remunerative to the farmers. Hence, gene action and best combining female and male parents for sugar yield in sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) and the association of sugar yield with other agronomic traits was studied in 171 hybrids developed by crossing 19 female parents with nine male parents in line × tester design and evaluated during both rainy and postrainy seasons of 2006. The significant differences between the seasons for all the traits suggested that these traits are greatly influenced by the environment. The lines (female parents) ICSA 38, ICSA 479, ICSA 702, ICSA 675 and ICSA 474 and the restorers (male parents), SSV 74 and SSV 84 combined well for sugar yield during rainy season and the lines, ICSA 702, ICSA 38 and ICSA 474 and the restorers, ICSV 93046, SPV 1411 and ICSV 700 combined well during postrainy season. The magnitude of SCA variance was higher suggesting the importance of non-additive gene action in inheritance of all the traits though both additive and dominant genes controlled overall sugar yield during both the seasons. Hence, selection in early generation would be ineffective and recurrent selection with periodic intercrossing is advocated. However, breeding good combining restorer parents can fetch high sugar yield in postrainy season. There is an indication of existence of transgressive segregation for sugar yield that can be exploited. The sugar yield was weak though significantly correlated with high brix and poor grain yield during both the seasons requiring extensive crossing to improve these traits simultaneously. Keeping in view mean performance, SCA effects and heterobeltiosis, the hybrids, ICSA 474 × SSV 84, ICSA 24001 × ICSR 93046 and ICSA 474 × SPV 422 were identified promising for rainy season and the hybrids ICSA 24001 × SPV 1411 and ICSA 511 × ICSV 93046 were identified for postrainy season.

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