Genotype by environment effects on promiscuous nodulation in soybean (Glycine max L. Merrill)

Understanding factors influencing the expression of a trait is key in designing a breeding program. Genotype by environment interaction has great influence on most quantitative traits. Promiscuous nodulation is a trait of importance for soybean production in Africa, because of the soil bacteria Bradyrhizobium japonicum not being indigenous in most African soils. Most soybean cultivars require B. japonicum for nodulation leading to the need for seed inoculation before sowing soybean in Africa. Few cultivars have capability to nodulate with Bradyrhizobia spp. that are different from B. japonicum and native in African soils. Such cultivars are termed “promiscuous cultivars.” Field experiments were conducted in six locations in Uganda for two seasons, to investigate the extent of environmental influences on the nodulation ability of promiscuous soybean genotypes. Additive main effect and multiplicative interaction effects showed highly significant environment and genotype by environment (G × E) interaction effects on all nodulation traits. G × E interaction contributed more to the total variation than genotypes. The genotypes Kabanyolo I and WonderSoya were the most stable for nodules’ dry weight (NDW), which is the nodulation trait the most correlated with grain yield. Genotype UG5 was the most stable for nodules’ number (NN), and Nam II for nodules’ effectiveness (NE). The genotype NamSoy 4M had the highest performance for NN, NFW, and NDW, but was less stable. WonderSoya had the highest NE. Genotype and genotype by environment analysis grouped environments into mega-environments (MEs), and four MEs were observed for NDW, with NamSoy 4M the winning genotype in the largest ME, and Kasese B the ideal environment for that nodulation trait. This study provides information that can guide breeding strategies. The low genetic effect that led to high environmental and G × E interaction effects raised the need for multi-environments testing before cultivar selection and recommendation. The study revealed genotypes that are stable and others that are high performing for nodulation traits, and which can be used as parental lines in breeding programs.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Journal Articles
Project sponsor: 
Intra-ACP SHARE Project
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