, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 1401-1411
Date: 28 Mar 2012

Development of robust genomic simple sequence repeat markers for estimation of genetic diversity within and among bulb onion (Allium cepa L.) populations

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Improved understanding of genetic diversity in onion and shallot (Allium cepa L.) is required to inform breeding and genetic resource conservation, and to enable development of association genetics and seed quality assurance methods. To develop quantitative estimates of diversity we estimated within- and among-population heterozygosity in a set of onion populations using genomic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers developed by genomic skim sequencing. Primer sets (166) designed to flank SSR motifs identified were evaluated in a diverse set of lines, with 80 (48 %) being polymorphic. The 20 most robust single copy markers were scored in 12 individuals from 24 populations representing short-day to long-day adapted material from diverse environments. The average genetic diversity estimate (H e) per population was 0.3 (SD 0.08) and the average per marker was 0.49 (SD 0.2). The onion populations assessed in this survey were distinct with moderate to large population differentiation but also had high within-population variation (F st = 0.26). There was evidence of inbreeding (F is = 0.22) with observed heterozygosities lower than the expected. This marker resource will be applicable for DNA fingerprinting, measuring levels of inbreeding in breeding lines, assessing population structure for association mapping and expanding linkage maps that are principally based on expressed sequence tag-based markers. A Galaxy workflow was developed to facilitate bulk SSR marker design from next-generation sequence data. This study provides one of the first quantitative views of population genetic variation in onion and a practical toolset for further genetics.