National Research Council of Italy

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IBBR publication #242

Genetic diversity assessment in Somali sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) accessions using microsatellite markers

Manzelli M, Pileri L, Lacerenza N, Benedettelli S, Vecchio V

Biodiversity and Conservation 16 (6): 1715-1730. (2007)
doi: 10.1007/s10531-006-9048-3

In the north-western region of Somalia, bordering Ethiopia, sorghum represents an important resources for human and animal nutrition. The critical situation of Somalia is threatening the preservation of this valuable resource and it becomes urgent to develop a strategy of correct evaluation of the sorghum germplasm in order to promote conservation and preservation programs. Microsatellites, also known as Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs), are reproducible molecular markers useful in assessing the level of genetic diversity of plants. A total of 5 sorghum SSR-specific primer pairs were used to assess the genetic diversity of Somali sorghum landraces. Extensive variation was found at the microsatellite loci analysed, except for a locus that resulted in a monomorphic for some accessions. Considerable differences were found between total and effective number of alleles indicating non uniform allele frequency. Moreover allele frequency at a single locus significantly changed among accessions. Total gene diversity calculated for each locus ranged from 0.44 to 0.79. Most of the genetic diversity occurred within accessions demonstrating that accessions are not under selection processes and/or there is a continuous exchange of genes between sorghum populations. In any case, the patterns of clustering were significantly affected by the presence/absence of some alleles with high discriminant weight. Accessions Carabi, Abaadiro, Masego Cas and Masego Cad represent distinct genotypes confirming finding observed in previous phenotypic studies. The results highlight the central role of local farmers in maintaining and shaping local germplasm.

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