Journal Article

Rank-based data synthesis of heterogeneous trials to identify the effects of climatic factors on the reaction of Musa genotypes to black leaf streak disease

Synthesis of crop trial data can generate insights that are not available from the analysis of individual studies, but such synthesis is often constrained by the heterogeneity of data among studies. Rank-based data synthesis provides the flexibility to combine data of heterogeneous types and from different sources. We demonstrate the application of rank-based data synthesis of heterogeneous trial data to assess the effect of climatic factors on the reaction of several Musa genotypes to black leaf streak disease (BLSD; caused by Pseudocercospora fijiensis [sexual morph: Mycosphaerella fijiensis]). We aggregated data from the main public repositories of Musa trial data. We applied model-based recursive partitioning with the Plackett-Luce model, using climatic data as covariates. The model identified the maximum length of the dry spell as the main variable influencing differences in genotypic response to BLSD, dividing the aggregated trial dataset into humid and dry environments. We found differences in the reaction of genotypes to BLSD between these environments. In humid environments, NARITA 8 was found to be the most resistant genotype, while in dry environments FHIA-01 was the best performing improved genotype. We also assessed reliability, which is the probability of outperforming the reference genotype (Calcutta 4). In humid environments NARITA 2, NARITA 8 and FHIA-01 had the highest reliability, while in dry environments only the landrace Saba surpassed 50% reliability. The information generated by our data synthesis approach supports selecting Musa genotypes for further evaluations at new locations.