Path analysis and canonical correlations for indirect selection of Jatropha genotypes with higher oil yield.
Jatropha is a species with great potential for biodiesel production, and the knowledge on how the main agronomic traits are correlated will contribute to its improvement. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to estimate the genetic parameters of the traits: plant height at 12 and 40 months, canopy projection on the row at 12 and 40 months, canopy projection between the row at 12 and 40 months, number of branches at 40 months, grain yield, and oil yield; to verify the existence of phenotypic correlation between these traits; to verify the influence of the morphological traits on oil yield by means of path analysis; and to evaluate the relationship between the productive traits in Jatropha and the morphological traits measured at different ages. Sixty-seven half-sib families were evaluated using a completely randomized block design with two replications and five plants per plot. Analysis of variance was used to estimate the genetic value. Phenotypic correlations were given by the Pearson correlation between traits. For the canonical correlation analysis, two groups of traits were established: group I, consisting of traits of economic importance for the culture, and group II, consisting of morphological traits. Path analysis was carried out considering oil yield as the main dependent variable. Genetic variability was observed among Jatropha families. Productive traits can be indirectly selected via morphological traits due to the correlation between these two groups of traits. Therefore, canonical correlations and path analysis are two strategies that may be useful in Jatropha-breeding program when the objective is to select productive traits via morphological traits.