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Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea): Variation in Morphological and Yield Traits Across Sri Lanka's Agro-Climatic Zones and Genetic Diversity Assessment

Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is an underutilized tuber crop in Sri Lanka. Morphological characterization of arrowroot is necessary for its selection, improvement, and utilization. This study evaluated thirteen quantitative and four qualitative plant morphological traits across the arrowroot populations in Sri Lanka's seven agro-climatic zones. Principal component analysis was done to identify the lead plant morphological traits for arrowroot plant and cluster analysis was performed to evaluate the similarity level among collected plant populations. Twenty M. arundinacea genotypes from different agro ecological regions of Sri Lanka were screened for genetic diversity using ISSR markers. Nine of the thirteen quantitative morphological traits were found to be significantly distinct from one another. Most plant populations had high similarities, indicating that planting materials can be collected from all of the country’s agro-climatic zones and used for breeding programmes. Seven out of thirteen quantitative plant morphological traits were identified as lead plant morphological traits for production of quality rhizomes for crop selection, improvement, and application in Sri Lanka. Outcome of this first study on morphological characterization of arrowroot in Sri Lanka suggests that, for effective utilization of arrowroot, plant populations can be used from all seven agro-climatic zones for selection and crop improvement. Five ISSR markers produced 53 bands in total across 20 samples, with an average frequency of 10.6 bands per primer. The ISSR-PCR analysis revealed a high level of polymorphism (94.34%). Primer UBC 811 has the highest PIC value (0.428), indicating that it is the most informative marker for assessing genetic diversity in M. arundinacea. The genotypes from the wet zone and dry zone were categorized individually based on the dendrogram created using UPGMA cluster analysis. The study found genetic variety in M. arundinacea based on their varied agro ecological zones, and the current findings will be useful in future crop improvement efforts in M. arundinacea.

Arrowroot, Maranta arundinacea, Plant Morphology, Principal Component Analysis, Traits

Susanga Malki, Sivashoby Sivalingam, Amani Wijesinghe, Kamani Ratnayake, Radhika Gimhani. (2023). Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea): Variation in Morphological and Yield Traits Across Sri Lanka's Agro-Climatic Zones and Genetic Diversity Assessment. Advances in Bioscience and Bioengineering, 11(3), 76-84.

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This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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