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Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn.) yield improvement has been achieved through development of blast resistant varieties and adoption of appropriate management practices. However, yield improvement is approaching stagnation and further improvement could be possible by inclusion of physiological traits in addition to yield per se. In this direction, nine selected genotypes for high net assimilation were compared with popular Cv. GPU-28 for photosynthetic, anatomical, and yield contributing traits to identify a better genotype and physiological traits associated with grain yield. Results revealed that the photosynthetic rate did not differ significantly between genotypes, but influenced the grain yield through increased earhead size and harvest index. Path analysis showed a direct positive effect of photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, mean earhead size and productive tillers towards grain yield. The photosynthetic rate was positively associated with leaf lamina thickness and vein frequency. Therefore, for finger millet yield improvement, traits like photosynthetic rate/ transpiration rate and mean earhead size with 3 to 4 tillers could be selected. Variety, GPU-28 which is widely cultivated had better photosynthetic traits and grain yield attributes, this variety can be used as important baseline check for both photosynthetic rate and grain yield in finger millet yield improvement programmes.
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