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The World Vegetable Center Amaranthus germplasm collection: Core collection development and evaluation of agronomic and nutritional traits
Crop Science  (IF2.319),  Pub Date : 2022-01-20, DOI: 10.1002/csc2.20715
Roland Schafleitner, Ya-ping Lin, Fekadu Fufa Dinssa, Sognigbé N'Danikou, Richard Finkers, Ruth Minja, Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, Winnie Akinyi Nyonje, Chen-yu Lin, Tien-hor Wu, Jeremiah Phanuel Sigalla, Maarten van Zonneveld, Yun-yin Hsiao, Sanjeet Kumar, Wan-jen Wu, Hsin-I Wang, Shou Lin, Ray-yu Yang

Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) is an underutilized crop increasing in popularity as a grain and as a leafy vegetable. It is rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins, and adapts well to a range of production systems. Currently, the lack of improved cultivars limits the use of the crop. Breeding-improved cultivars requires access to large collections of amaranth biodiversity stored in genebanks. The task of searching such vast collections for traits of interest can be eased by generating core collections, which display the diversity of large collections in a much smaller germplasm set. The World Vegetable Center amaranth collection contains around 1,000 accessions of 13 species; among them, there are 281 accessions of four species important for use as vegetable amaranth in Africa (A. cruentus, A. hypochondriacus, A. caudatus, and A. dubius). Based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker genotype diversity, a core collection (CC) of 76 accessions, cultivars, and selections was assembled. To a large extent, it represents the diversity of the whole collection. The CC was evaluated for yield and nutritional parameters during the cool and warm seasons in Tanzania and Taiwan and a pretest for variation of drought tolerance in the CC has been performed. Cultivar Madiira 2, an improved cultivar developed for vegetable production in Africa, outperformed all other tested cultivars in terms of yield stability, but several CC accessions had higher yield, lower wilting score, and higher nutrient content than Madiira 2. This indicates the core collection can be used for further improvement of amaranth cultivars.