A total of 723 accessions of oil palm ( Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) from 26 populations representing ten countries in Africa and one Deli dura family were screened for allelic variation at seven enzyme loci from six enzyme systems using starch gel electrophoresis. On average, 54.5% of the loci were polymorphic (0.99 criterion). The average and effective number of alleles per locus was 1.80 and 1.35, respectively. Mean expected heterozygosity was 0.184, with values ranging from 0.109 (population 8, Senegal) to 0.261 (population 29, Cameroon). The genetic differentiation among populations was high (F(ST)=0.301), indicating high genetic divergence. The calculation of F(ST) by geographic zones revealed that the high F(ST) was largely due to F(ST) among populations in West Africa, suggesting diversifying selection in this region. The mean genetic distance across populations was 0.113. The lowest genetic distance (D) was observed between population 5 from Tanzania and population 7 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (0.000) and the highest was found between population 4 from Madagascar and population 13 from Sierra Leone (0.568). The total gene flow across oil palm populations was low, with an Nm of 0.576, enhancing genetic structuring, as evident from the high F(ST) values. UPGMA cluster analysis revealed three main clusters; the western outlying populations from Senegal and Sierra Leone were in one cluster but separated into two distinct sub-clusters; the eastern outlying populations from Madagascar were in one cluster; the populations from Angola, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria and Guinea were in one cluster. The Deli dura family seems to be closely related to population 6 from Guinea. Oil palm populations with high genetic diversity-i.e. all of the populations from Nigeria, Cameroon and Sierra Leone, population 6 of Guinea, population 1 of Madagascar and population 2 of Senegal should be used in improvement programmes, whereas for conservation purposes, oil palm populations with high allelic diversity (A(e)), which include populations 22 and 29 from Cameroon, populations 39 and 45 from Nigeria, population 6 from Guinea, populations 5 and 13 from Sierra Leone and population 1 from Madagascar should be selected for capturing as much genetic variation as possible.
The oil palm mesocarp contains an endogenous lipase which is strongly activated at low temperature. Lipase activity is thus very conveniently assayed by prior exposure of the fruits to low temperature. More than 100 oil palm samples from the germplasm collection of the Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia (now known as the Malaysian Palm Oil Board) were screened for non-esterified fatty acid activity using both the low-temperature activation assay and a radioactivity assay. The results showed good correlation between assay procedures. The different samples had a very wide range of lipase activity. Elaeis oleifera samples had significantly lower lipase activity compared with E. guineensis (var. tenera) samples. Even within E. guineensis (var. tenera), there was a wide range of activity. The results confirmed that lipase activity is genotype-dependent. Selection for lipase genotypes is thus possible and this will have obvious commercial value.
We evaluated 38 dura x pisifera (DP) oil palm progenies in four locations in Malaysia for genotype by environment interaction and genotypic stability studies. The DP progenies derived from crosses between pisifera palms of AVROS, Serdang S27B, Serdang 29/36, and Lever Cameroon were chosen to be the males' parent and Deli dura palms designated as females' parent. All the locations differed in terms of soil physical and chemical properties, and the soil types ranged from coastal clay to inland soils. The genotype by environment interaction and stability of the individual genotypes were analyzed for oil yield trait using several stability techniques. A genotype by environment interaction was detected for oil yield and it had a larger variance component than genotypic variance (σ(2)(gl)/σ(2)(g) = 139.7%). Genotype by environment interaction of oil yield was largely explained by a non-linear relationship between genotypic and environmental values. Overall assessment of individual genotypic stability showed that seven genotypes were highly stable and had consistent performance over the environments for the oil yield trait [total individual genotype stability scored more than 10 and mean oil yielded above the average of the environment (genotype means are more than 34.37 kg·palm(-1)·year(-1))]. These genotypes will be useful for oil palm breeding and tissue culture programs for developing high oil yielding planting materials with stable performance.
Twelve introgressed oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) progenies of Nigerian dura x Deli dura were evaluated for bunch yield, yield attributes, bunch quality components and vegetative characters at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board Research Station, in Keratong, Pahang, Malaysia. Analysis of variance revealed significant to highly significant genotypic differences, indicating sufficient genetic variability among the progenies for bunch yield and its attributes, vegetative characters and bunch quality components, except fruit to bunch ratio. Fresh fruit bunch yield ranged from 167 kg·palm(-1)·year(-1) in PK1330 to 212 kg·palm(-1)·year(-1) in PK1351, with a mean yield of 192 kg·palm(-1)·year(-1). Among the progeny, PK1313 had the highest oil to bunch ratio (19.36%), due to its high mesocarp to fruit ratio, fruit to bunch ratio and low shell to fruit ratio. Among the progenies, PK1313 produced the highest oil yield of 31.4 kg·palm(-1)·year(-1), due to a high mesocarp to fruit ratio (61.2%) and a low shell to fruit ratio (30.7%), coupled with high fruit to bunch ratio (65.6%). PK1330 was found promising for selection, as it had desirable vegetative characters, including smaller petiole cross section (27.15 cm2), short rachis length (4.83 m), short palm height (1.85 m), and the lowest leaf number (164.6), as these vegetative characters are prerequisites for selecting palms for high density planting and high yield per hectare. The genetic variability among the progenies was found to be high, indicating ample scope for further breeding, followed by selection.