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Untapped amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) genetic diversity with potential for nutritional enhancement

Shukla, Alka, Srivastava, Nidhi, Suneja, Poonam, Yadav, ShivK., Hussain, Zakir, Rana, J.C., Yadav, Sangita
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2018 v.65 no.1 pp. 243-253
Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Food and Agriculture Organization, amino acid composition, breeding, cluster analysis, cystine, essential amino acids, fatty acid composition, genetic distance, genetic improvement, genetic variation, germplasm, histidine, hunger, linoleic acid, lipid content, lysine, malnutrition, methionine, obesity, oleic acid, protein content, tyrosine, wild relatives
Significant genetic diversity was observed in 218 out of a total of 1309 accessions of amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus L.) and its seven wild relatives, A. spinosus L., A. dubius Mart. ex Thell., A. hybridus L., A. tricolor L., A. cruentus L., A. caudatus L., A. retroflexus L. for 24 nutritional parameters including total oil content, fatty acid profile, total protein content and amino acid profile. Diversity for total oil content (6.42–12.53%), linoleic acid (25.68–54.34%), oleic acid (21.97–42.01%) of the total fatty acids, total protein content (7.84–18.01%), among important essential amino acids; lysine content (0.66–11.12 g/16 g N), methionine (0.35–4.80 g/16 g N) and half cystine and (0.12–8.32 g/16 g N) was reported. The un-weighted pair-group method using arithmetic average cluster analysis based on pair wise Euclidean genetic distance grouped the accessions into seven major clusters. Histidine, half cystine, tyrosine, essential amino acids, total oil content, linoleic acid and oleic acid content were the major parameters contributing significantly to genetic diversity. Present findings indicate that significant diversity exists for nutritional parameters in amaranth germplasm. The promising accessions with higher multiple nutritive traits; protein content (>16%), oil content (>11%), lysine content (>7.5 g/16 g N) and EAA higher than the FAO reported values, were identified. This is the first report on detailed nutritional analysis of diversity collected worldwide. These could be used as potential breeding material for nutritional enhancement through genetic improvement. This will help in overcoming the “triple burden” of malnourishment, hidden hunger, and obesity.