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Salas Fernandez M.G.,Iowa State University | Okeno J.A.,Iowa State University | Okeno J.A.,African Agricultural Technology Foundation AATF | Mutegi E.,Ohio State University | And 3 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2014

Understanding the extent of gene exchange between cultivated sorghum and its wild/weedy relatives and the evolutionary processes (including farmers’ practices) that act to shape the structure of genetic diversity within and between them is an important aspect for germplasm conservation strategies, biosafety risk assessment, and crop improvement programs. In this study, molecular characterization and genetic diversity analyses were conducted on wild, weedy and cultivated sorghums collected at a local-scale in a traditional farming system in the Lambwe Valley of western Kenya. Nine simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to genotype 294 cultivated sorghum and 200 wild sorghum individuals. The nine SSR markers were highly polymorphic with a number of alleles that varied from 2 to 19. Overall, wild sorghums had higher genetic diversity, observed heterozygosity, total number of alleles, polymorphic information content and more genotypes per locus than the cultivated types. A Mantel test demonstrated that there was significant isolation-by-distance for wilds and cultivated materials. STRUCTURE, cluster and principal coordinate analyses consistently assigned wild and cultivated individuals to different groups but failed to place hybrids/weedy types as a single separate group from wilds. Our results provide strong evidence of significant genetic diversity retained within wilds, larger divergence between wild and cultivated materials and reduced gene flow than those previously reported in Kenya. These results demonstrate the value of the Lambwe Valley region as a genetic reservoir and the importance to conduct genetic diversity studies at the local scale to design and execute appropriate in situ conservation programs and policies. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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