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Breeding for Cassava brown streak resistance in coastal Kenya.

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Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz ssp. esculenta) is the second most important food crop and a main source of income for the rural communities with potential for industrial use in the coastal region of Kenya. However, its productivity of 5 to 9 t ha-1 is low due to the low yield potential of the local cassava landraces caused by cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) among other biotic and abiotic constraints. Breeding for CBSD resistant varieties with farmer desired characteristics is hampered by limited information on the current status of the disease and farmers’ preferred characteristics of new CBSD resistant genotypes. In addition, there is a lack of an effective inoculation technique for cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) for screening genotypes for CBSD resistance. Information about the general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) for CBSD above and below ground symptoms, fresh biomass yield (FBY) and fresh storage root yield (FSRY) (kg plant-1), harvest index (HI), dry matter % (DM %) and picrate score (PS) is limited and conflicting especially for the cassava germplasm in Kenya. These studies were carried out to update information on the status of CBSD, farmer’s preferences for cassava genotypes, and identify the most effective CBSV inoculation technique. In addition, the studies aimed to: determine the GCA and SCA for, and gene action controlling, the incidence and severity of above ground CBSD, root necrosis, FBY, FSRY, HI, DM %, and PS; and identify CBSD resistant progeny with farmers’ desired characteristics. A survey carried out in three major cassava-growing divisions in Kilifi, Kwale and Malindi Districts indicated that there was potential to increase production and productivity by increasing the area under cassava production and developing CBSD resistant genotypes that are early maturing, high yielding and sweet. In addition, CBSD was widely distributed, being present in 98.0% of the farms surveyed at a mean incidence of 61.2%. However, 99.0% of farmers interviewed lacked awareness and correct information about the disease. The genetic variability of cassava within the farms was low as the majority of farmers grew one or two landraces. Highly significant differences (P < 0.01) were observed among inoculation techniques for CBSV for which the highest infection rate of up to 92.0% was observed in plants inoculated by wedge grafting infected scion. Highly significant differences (P < 0.01) were observed among genotypes, between sites and their interaction for incidence of CBSD and root necrosis, while the differences among genotypes and the interaction between genotypes and the period of ratings were highly significant (P < 0.01) for the severity of CBSD and root necrosis. Above ground CBSD symptoms were not always associated with below ground CBSD symptoms and below ground CBSD symptoms were more severe at 12 months after planting (MAP) than at 6 MAP. Therefore, selecting cassava genotypes with resistance to below ground CBSD is more important than selection based on resistance to above ground CBSD and should be done after 12 months. Genotypes 5318/3 (exotic) followed by Msa140 and Plot4 (both local) had high resistance and can be used as new sources of resistance to root necrosis. Both GCA and SCA effects were highly significant with GCA sums of squares (SS) predominant over the SCA SS for most traits evaluated except for DM % at the clonal stage. These results indicate that although additive and non-additive genetic effects are involved in the inheritance of these traits, the additive genetic effects are more important except for DM %. Therefore breeding for CBSD-resistant genotypes that have characteristics desired by farmers in the coastal region of Kenya can be achieved through recurrent selection and gene pyramiding followed by participatory selection or use of a selection index that incorporates characteristics considered important by farmers.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2008.


Cassava., Cassava--Diseases and pests--Kenya., Cassava--Disease and pest resistance--Genetic aspects., Cassava--Breeding--Kenya., Selection (Plant breeding)--Africa., Plant breeding--Research--Africa., Plant viruses--Africa., Theses--Plant breeding., Theses--Plant pathology.