Heritability and Genetic Advance Estimates of Key Shea Fruit Traits

Academic Article


  • Genetic erosion of shea trees, which has been on-going at an alarming rate, has necessitated urgent conservation attentions. Owing to the vast geographical distribution of the species across Ghana, in situ germplasms conservation was established by tagging and monitoring selected trees annually. Technologies have been developed that enable shea germplasms to be grafted, allowing for the development of germplasm banks at the research station of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, Bole. However, before these materials could be used in crop improvement programs, there is a need to evaluate them for key fruit traits relevant to the global shea business. This experiment was carried out to evaluate the tagged in situ shea trees for fruit and nut traits. Freshly harvested shea fruits were evaluated for their brix, pulp yield and kernel size properties to see if there was the needed diversity for crop improvement gains. Eight key traits were studied, with all showing significant difference, with high broad sense heritability and genetic advance for all the traits, indicating the potential for genetic gains in breeding programs. Qualitative analysis classified the fruits into five shapes, ellipsoid fruit shape was the most frequent observation (69.5%), while oblong was the least represented (1%). Fruit surface pubescence indicated that the surfaces without hairs (smooth) were slightly higher in number (52.6%) than the surface with hairs (rough), which were 47.4%. Pearson correlation studies showed a positive significant relationship between kernel weight and fruit weight (0.68), fruit length (0.48), fruit width (0.51), pulp weight (0.5) and shell weight (0.77). Key components responsible for total variations observed were decomposed from the first two principal components (PC), which cumulatively explained 78.4% of the total observed variation within the materials. PC1 alone contributed 46.4%, while PC2 contributed 32%. Fruit weight, fruit length, fruit width, pulp weight, nut weight, shell weight and kernel weight were contributing traits to variations observed in PC1, while brix and percent pulp contributed to the variations observed in PC2. Percent kernel to nut ratio contributed to the variations observed in PC3. Clustering of the germplasms showed no regular pattern based on location or any particular trait, indicating a high level of diversity at 58% of the Pearson dissimilarity index.
  • Authors

  • Anyomi, Wisdom Edem
  • Barnor, Michael Teye
  • Danquah, Agyemang
  • Ofori, Kwadwo
  • Padi, Francis Kwame
  • Avicor, Silas Wintuma
  • Hale, Iago
  • Danquah, Eric Yirenkyi
  • Published In

  • Agronomy  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 640
  • End Page

  • 640
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 3