, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 213-221

Genetic variation in South Korean natural populations of wild soybean (Glycine soja)

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Wild relatives are valuable genetic resources for crop improvement. Evaluating genetic variation in these species is not only important for their use in breeding programs, but will also provide information about evolution of crops. Seeds representing six natural populations were used to study the level of variation in the South Korean wild soybean. Electrophoretic assays of the seeds on horizontal slab gels were conducted to determine the genotypes of each natural plant at 35 loci in 17 isozymes and one protein. The results indicated a surprisingly high variation. The number of alleles at each locus was as high as four. Seventy two of the 94 reported alleles for the 35 loci were present in these populations. The average number of alleles per locus, 99% polymorphism and the expected heterozygosity in the total population were 2.1, 77.1% and 0.215, respectively. This amount of variation was not only higher than that reported for 857 soybean cultivars and wild soybean populations from other geographic regions, but also higher than the average for 123 self-fertilized plant species and 473 plant species of all mating systems. The high variation in the South Korean wild soybean as well as cultivated soybean indicated in this and other population genetic studies prompts us to propose that South Korea is one of the major soybean gene centers.