Genetic diversity within and among maize populations: a comparison between isozyme and nuclear RFLP loci
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In order to compare the potential of enzyme and DNA markers to investigate genetic diversity within and among populations, ten maize populations were characterized for (1) 20 isozyme loci and (2) restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) for 35 probe-enzyme combinations. Each population was represented by a sample of at least 30 individuals. The average number of alleles detected per locus was clearly higher for RFLPs (6.3) than for isozymes (2.4). Similarly, total diversity was higher for RFLPs (0.60) than for isozymes (0.23). This difference is consistent with observations on inbred-line collections and can be related to the fact that many variations at the DNA level do not change the amino-acid composition or the global charge of proteins. By contrast, the magnitude of population differentiation, relative to the total diversity, was similar for isozymes (23%) and RFLPs (22%). This suggests that the isozyme and RFLP loci considered in this study are subject to similar evolutionary forces, and that both are mostly neutral. However, RFLPs proved clearly superior to isozymes both to (1) identify the origin of a given individual and (2) reveal a relevant genetic structure among populations. The higher polymorphism observed for RFLP loci and the greater number of these loci contributed to the superior discriminative ability of the RFLP data.
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