Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 August 2013
The genebank at ICRISAT, Patancheru, India conserves a total of 19,063 pearl millet landraces from latitudes ranging from 33.00° in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) to 34.37° in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). In the present study, the NH was found to be the major region for growing pearl millet landraces (80.5%). More landraces were found at lower latitudes ( < 20°) in both hemispheres than at higher latitudes. The latitude range of 10°–15° in the NH and 15°–20° in the SH were found to be important source regions for the prevalence of pearl millet, with 39.6% and 13.1% in the world collection of landraces, respectively. Landraces from lower-latitude regions on either side of the equator varied widely for all traits. Landraces from the 5°–10°N latitude region flowered late and grew tall in the rainy and post-rainy seasons and produced more tillers. Landraces from the 10°–15°N latitude region produced few tillers and had long and thick panicles with larger seeds. Long-bristled bird-resistant landraces were considerable at latitudes of 10°–15°S and 20°–25°S. The minimum temperature at the collection sites was found to be one of the important factors for determining the patterns of the prevalence of pearl millet across the latitudes. Late-maturing, tall and high-tillering landraces from lower-latitude regions were better sources for fodder production. Early-maturing landraces producing long and thick panicles with large seeds from mid-latitude regions (15°–20°) in both hemispheres were useful for developing high-yielding cultivars. Using the latitudinal patterns of diversity in pearl millet landraces, missions may be launched to explore high-diversity, under-collected and threatened areas for the collection of materials of interest at latitudes of 15°–20°.