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A study on the genetic control and potential of the important agronomic characters of maranta arundinacea l.

Author: 
Shintu, P. V., Radhakrishnan, V. V. and Mohanan, K. V.
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Maranta arundinacea commonly known as the West Indian arrowroot is a perennial rhizomatous herb cultivated widely in tropical countries for its starchy rhizomes. The edible tuberous rhizomes are rich in starch and are also a commercial source of fine grade starch used often in weaning foods and biscuits. The starch is reported to have medicinal uses and is an important ingredient in the preparation of barium meals and tablets. The plant which grows under shade is generally resistant to pests and pathogens. Traditionally the tuberous rhizomes are used in the treatment of diarrhea. Being an important crop with underexplored and underexploited genetic potential, knowledge of the genetic control of its agronomic characters is one of the major steps towards the improvement of the genetic stock of this crop. Hence an experiment was carried out to analyze the genetic control of the major agronomic characters in Maranta arundinacea. Six growth characters and eight yield characters were studied and all of them showed continuous distribution indicating polygenic control. Among the growth characters, leaf breadth and leaf area showed accumulation of higher number of dominant alleles. In the case of yield characters, diameter of primary fingers and yield per plant showed maximum accumulation of dominant alleles as revealed by the frequency distribution of the variables. The other characters showed a symmetric distribution of different combinations of alleles or accumulation of recessive alleles in their gene pool. The study indicates the essentiality of selection of better phenotypes and genotypes with higher number of dominant contributing alleles to develop superior varieties.

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