Genotype x environment interaction and stability of soybean cultivars for vegetative-stage characters.
In order to obtain the certificate of cultivar protection, it is necessary to prove its distinctiveness, homogeneity, and stability. Currently, there are 37 descriptors for differentiating soybeans cultivars. However, they are still not enough and, as a result, it is necessary to create, identify, and evaluate new descriptors. This study was aimed at evaluating the genotypic and environment interaction (GxE) and determining the stability of eight soybean cultivars for five vegetative-stage descriptors. The research was done in a greenhouse of the Soybean Breeding and Genetic Studies Program of Universidade Federal de Uberlândia. The treatments were composed of eight soybean cultivars, sown in two different growing seasons (January 25, 2014 and November 27, 2014). The experiments were carried out in randomized complete blocks with three replications and each experimental plot consisted of one pot with four soybean plants. The characters evaluated were: length of hypocotyl (LH), length of epicotyl (LE), length of unifoliolate leaf petiole (LUP), length of first trifoliate leaf petiole (LTLP), and rachis length of terminal leaflet of the first trifoliate leaf (RL). The data achieved from the trials were undergone genetic-statistical analyses by the GENES software. For all analyzed characters, the existence of genetic variability was observed emphasizing the vegetative-stage descriptors' utility to differentiate soybean cultivars. The occurrence of GxE interaction was detected for all characters assessed, mainly of complex nature, except by RL, which was of simple nature. The most stable cultivars for the vegetative-stage descriptors analysed were UFUS 7415 and UFUS Impacta.