Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.) is an important cereal food crop in Africa and South Asia. It is a hardy crop that can be grown in very diverse environments from almost at sea level to about 2400 m.a.s.l. Finger millet has an excellent food value as its seeds contain protein ranging from 7 to 14% and are particularly rich in methionine amino acid, iron, and calcium.
Despite all these merits, this crop has been neglected from the main stream of crop improvement research. One of the means to boost its production and productivity is to enhance utilization of finger millet germplasm to breed superior varieties. Keeping this objective in view, a core subset of finger millet germplasm (622 accessions) based on origin and data on 14 quantitative traits was developed from the entire global collection of 5940 accessions held in the genebank at ICRISAT, Patancheru, India. The comparison of means, variances, frequency distribution, Shannon-Weaver diversity index (H') and phenotypic correlations indicated that the core subset represents the entire collection. These tests indicated that sampling was optimal and the diversity has been captured very well in the core subset. The correlation analysis indicated that panicle exsertion and longest finger length could be given lower priority in the future germplasm evaluation work of finger millet.
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