, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 43-55

Geographical, altitude and agro-ecological differentiation of isozyme and hordein genotypes of landrace barleys from Ethiopia: implications to germplasm conservation

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Abstract

An analysis of the variability of genes encoding six isozyme systems (15 loci) and two storage proteins (2 loci) in landrace barley from Ethiopia is reported. The materials consisted of populations collected from sites as low as 1650 and as high as 3750 meters, covering a wide range of agro-ecological conditions and geographical areas. Of the 17 loci 7 were polymorphic and 10 monomorphic when the 95% criterion of polymorphism was applied. Despite the disproportionate monomorphic loci, polymorphism was detected in all populations when this criterion is used. The populations were found to possess fairly low mean number of alleles per locus (A = 1.5), low mean value of expected heterozygosity (H = 0.134) and a fairly high mean percentage of polymorphic loci (P = 35.3%). The mean FST= 0.474 for the populations is typical of inbreeding species. The result indicated that allelic richness is concentrated in altitude class 3 (2500–3000 m) followed by altitude class 1 (<2000 m). Altitude class 2 (2000–2500) holds an intermediate place though it is the highest in terms of expected heterozygosity (H = 0.245). Higher genetic diversity is concentrated in some geographical regions such as Shewa, Arsi, Bale compared to others (Welo, Gamu Gofa, Gojam). Genetic differentiation among the agro-ecological zones was more profound than both among the altitudes and among regions. Correlation analysis between phenotypic diversity (Shannon-Weaver diversity index) and expected heterozygosity (H) for isozyme/hordein loci revealed non significant associations except with respect to agro-ecological zones. In general, it was detected that sites in highland areas in central and northern regions may be more desirable for in situ conservation than sites in peripheral regions in terms of isozyme/hordein diversity and current rate of varietal replacement.