COMBINING ABILITY STUDIES OF GRAIN YIELD AND RELATED TRAITS IN PEARL MILLET
The present study was undertaken to explore the genetic architecture of pearl millet through combining ability analysis in a 5X5 diallel fashion. Both GCA and SCA mean squares were significant in grain yield, plant height, panicle length and days to flowering. However, these were non-significant for number of productive tillers and panicle girth. General combining ability estimates revealed that genotype MGP-322 was good general combiner for all the traits under study except for days to flowering for which MGP-335 and 13RBS-01 were good general combiners but these were poor general combiners for all other traits under study. The crosses MGP-322XMGP-328, MGP-322XMGP-335, MGP-328X13RBS-13, 13RBS-01X13RBS-13 and MGP-322X13RBS-01 were best specific combiners for grain yield and some other attributes respectively. All these crosses involved at least one good general combiner except MGP-328X13RBS-13. This suggested that good general combiners are the best tool in improving the crop yield by manipulating the genetic architecture. Combining ability variances revealed that although both GCA and SCA variances were important, however, SCA variances were higher than GCA variances suggesting that non additive type of gene action was more prominent in the inheritance of characters under study.