Phenotypic Relationships within 366 Quinoa Genotypes

Identify relationships between agronomic, morphological, and seed phenotypes

The germplasm resources currently available to facilitate quinoa expansion worldwide are restricted to a small portion of quinoa’s total genetic diversity, in part because of physiological constraints (i.e. day-length sensitivity) and issues related to seed sovereignty.

The objectives of this project
This project aimed to characterize a quinoa world core collection and identify relationships between agronomic, morphological, and seed phenotypes. The collection, consisting of 366 accessions, was planted in Musanze, Rwanda during season B of 2020. Phenological stages, morphological data, and other phenotypic were recorded at different stages of growth. Photographs of inflorescences were captured and used to visually score morphology (i.e. shape, density, color, leafiness). Seed yield and thousand seed weight were measured, and seed phenotypes, consisting of nutritional composition, shape, size, and color were collected using a high-throughput phenotyping pipeline.

Some Findings
We found that crude protein content was negatively correlated with yield and positively correlated with total amino acid content and days to harvest. The yield was positively correlated with thousand seed weight and seed area and negatively correlated with ash content and days to harvest. These results provide a reference for understanding the relationships between quinoa phenotypes that can be visually assessed and those that require specialized equipment to quantify. Additionally, the data set provides a practical resource for plant breeders to leverage as they strategically develop germplasm for novel production regions in support of the global expansion of quinoa.