A new study published in Nature by Issa et al. has found that drought-tolerant sweet potato cultivars were not previously reported in West Africa, a dry region. The study aimed to develop higher-yielding drought-tolerant sweet potato hybrids following an accelerated breeding scheme (ABS) and to study the genotype by environment (G × E) interaction.
During the advanced yield trial, clones were assessed in six locations, four in Niger and two in Nigeria. Data were collected on storage root yield (SRY), harvest index (HI), and root dry matter content (DMC). Twenty-three hybrids were evaluated under drought and irrigation, with terminal drought imposed.
Results of the study revealed that based on drought susceptibility index (DSI), drought tolerant expression (DTE), and HI, clones 4 × 5 – 3, 9 × 7 – 1, 5 × 9 – 2, 3 × 6 – 2, and 3 × 12 – 3 were the best in SRY under drought stress and well-watered in combined data. However, the results of AMMI stability value (ASV) and stability cultivar superiority (SCS) revealed that the most superior cultivars were unstable.
Clones 12 × 5 – 1 and 9 × 10 – 1 were recommended under drought for SRY stability combined with high DMC and total carotene (TC). Under irrigation, the 13 × 8 – 2 is a good candidate for stability across all locations combined with high DMC and medium TC, while clones 4 × 3 – 2, 13 × 8 – 2, 4 × 6 – 2, and 6 × 8 – 5 were stable SRY with high DMC.
The hybrids developed through the ABS have the potential to significantly improve crop yields and enhance food security in the region. By developing drought-tolerant sweet potato hybrids, farmers can continue to grow crops even during drought, reducing the risk of crop failure and ensuring a reliable food source.
The study’s findings provide important insights into the development of drought-tolerant crops, highlighting the importance of scientific research in addressing real-world challenges related to food security and sustainability. By continuing to invest in research and development of new crop varieties, researchers can help to ensure a sustainable and resilient food system for future generations.
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