Title: Investigation of Morphological and Molecular Marker Segregation of an F2 Population of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) and Deriving Marker-trait Associations
About the Research: This research aimed at the genetic improvement of coconut, an economically important perennial plantation crop in Sri Lanka. Traditionally, conventional plant breeding methodologies have been used for nearly a century of research in coconut improvement. However, the need for using novel molecular breeding tools for enhancement of plant breeding in this perennial plant has been long felt. The current research aimed at confirming the phenotypic and molecular segregation of an F2 population of coconut. The population was identified to be sufficiently segregating
at both phenotypic and genotypic levels. The feasibility of using the said population for QTL analysis, genome mapping leading to marker assisted selection, several important marker trait associations were derived. Use of molecular markers in coconut breeding and QTL analysis was demonstrated. Furthermore genome mapping and marker assisted selection in important crops is still new in Sri Lanka and specifically this study is one of the pioneering records in developing marker trait associations of a perennial tree crop in Sri Lanka.