Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 108, Issue 7, pp 1274–1284 | Cite as

Genetic diversity of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) germplasm collections from Africa: implications for improvement and conservation of genetic resources

  • A. Hayati
  • R. Wickneswari
  • I. Maizura
  • N. Rajanaidu
Original Paper


A total of 723 accessions of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) from 26 populations representing ten countries in Africa and one Deli dura family were screened for allelic variation at seven enzyme loci from six enzyme systems using starch gel electrophoresis. On average, 54.5% of the loci were polymorphic (0.99 criterion). The average and effective number of alleles per locus was 1.80 and 1.35, respectively. Mean expected heterozygosity was 0.184, with values ranging from 0.109 (population 8, Senegal) to 0.261 (population 29, Cameroon). The genetic differentiation among populations was high (FST=0.301), indicating high genetic divergence. The calculation of FST by geographic zones revealed that the high FST was largely due to FST among populations in West Africa, suggesting diversifying selection in this region. The mean genetic distance across populations was 0.113. The lowest genetic distance (D) was observed between population 5 from Tanzania and population 7 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (0.000) and the highest was found between population 4 from Madagascar and population 13 from Sierra Leone (0.568). The total gene flow across oil palm populations was low, with an Nm of 0.576, enhancing genetic structuring, as evident from the high FST values. UPGMA cluster analysis revealed three main clusters; the western outlying populations from Senegal and Sierra Leone were in one cluster but separated into two distinct sub-clusters; the eastern outlying populations from Madagascar were in one cluster; the populations from Angola, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria and Guinea were in one cluster. The Deli dura family seems to be closely related to population 6 from Guinea. Oil palm populations with high genetic diversity—i.e. all of the populations from Nigeria, Cameroon and Sierra Leone, population 6 of Guinea, population 1 of Madagascar and population 2 of Senegal should be used in improvement programmes, whereas for conservation purposes, oil palm populations with high allelic diversity (Ae), which include populations 22 and 29 from Cameroon, populations 39 and 45 from Nigeria, population 6 from Guinea, populations 5 and 13 from Sierra Leone and population 1 from Madagascar should be selected for capturing as much genetic variation as possible.



This work was supported by Malaysian Palm Oil Board grant UKM/MPOB D/29/99 to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Hayati
    • 1
  • R. Wickneswari
    • 1
  • I. Maizura
    • 2
  • N. Rajanaidu
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental and Natural Resources Sciences, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)Kuala LumpurMalaysia

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