Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) is a type of fiber crop (Dempsey, 1975) and is commercially cultivated in more than 20 countries, particularly in India, China, Thailand and Vietnam (Fao, 2008). World production of kenaf and allied fibers reported as 3,251,125 tons in 2009 (Fao, 2011). Kenaf has a wide range of applications in making biocopmosite board, textile, industrial filters, and high-quality paper.
Malaysia is one of the main exporters of timber and timber based products in the world. Renewable resource for biocomposite and timber based products in Malaysia is one of the essentials in agriculture sector. Kenaf has been considered as a potential renewable source for biocomposite making industry in Malaysia. Furthermore, kenaf has been considered as a valuable substitute for tobacco plantation in Malaysia. Kenaf production is increased from 1,163 tons in 2005 to 4,185 tons in 2007 as reported by Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister's Department, Malaysia (2008). Lack of suitable kenaf varieties for Malaysian climate is one the challenges that hinder kenaf integration. Kenaf varieties have not been extensively evaluated in Malaysia.
The number of kenaf commercialized varieties is limited in the world. Besides, very few studies have been conducted on genetic control of fiber yield and fiber quality of kenaf. Understanding of the inheritance and genetic control of the fiber yield and quality will help in structuring breeding strategy to develop cultivars with improved fiber yield and quality.
New tools and methods have been introduced to facilitate quantitative genetic studies, particularly in the study of complex traits. In genomics era, plant breeders benefited from new technologies and advances in genetics to enhance their productivity. Recent advances in genomics have allowed genetic variation to be understood and described at an astonishing level. Finding nucleotide variants that directly or indirectly affect phenotype is made simple. Inexpensive DNA sequencing and sophisticated single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) visualization methods such as high-resolution melting (HRM) curve analysis can expedite unveiling complex trait genetic.
This study aims at establishing early breeding program for improvement of kenaf fiber yield and quality. Associated markers to fiber yield and quality identified in this research will enable the application of marker-assisted selection in kenaf breeding programs.
Therefore, the present work was conducted in five studies. Study 1 was designed to optimize kenaf crossing procedure. In Study 2, two sets of generations were produced and genetic control and heritability of fiber yield and quality were studied using Analysis of Generation Means procedure. Kenaf genomic DNA extraction protocol was optimized in Study 3. New SSR and SNP Markers were developed in Study 4. Finally, genotyping of individual plants of F2 family and marker-trait association analysis were conducted in...