Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 529–541 | Cite as

Genetic diversity and population structure of Guinea yams and their wild relatives in South and South West Ethiopia as revealed by microsatellite markers

  • Wendawek Abebe MengeshaEmail author
  • Sebsebe Demissew
  • M. F. Fay
  • R. J. Smith
  • I. Nordal
  • P. Wilkin
Research Article


Genetic diversity and population structure of Guinea yams and their wild relatives collected from south and south west Ethiopia were assessed using microsatellite markers. The total number of alleles amplified for the 7 loci studied was found to be 60, with an average of 8.6 alleles per locus. The average expected heterozygosity for the entire population was found to be 64 % indicating that Guinea yams and their wild relatives in the study area display a high level of genetic diversity. Using allelic richness as a measure of genetic diversity the wild forms exhibited greater allelic diversity than the cultigens. Contrary to what is expected in vegetatively propagated crops, none of the seven loci studied showed a significant excess of heterozygotes. In all the comparisons made, a low mean FST (but significant) has been observed, indicating that the majority of microsatellite diversity in the populations under study was found within rather than between populations.


Dioscorea Genetic diversity Guinea yams Microsatellite markers Population structure 



This research was funded by the Norwegian Programme for Development, Research and Education (NUFU) and Bentham-Moxon trust. We thank the staffs at Jodrell laborarory (Conservation Genetics and molecular systematic sections) for technical support and Anteneh Tesfaye for the technical assistance in the field. Dr Christian Lexer and Prof. Glenn-Peter Sætre are gratefully acknowledged for their support in data analysis and interpretation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendawek Abebe Mengesha
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sebsebe Demissew
    • 2
  • M. F. Fay
    • 3
  • R. J. Smith
    • 3
  • I. Nordal
    • 4
  • P. Wilkin
    • 3
  1. 1.Dilla UniversityDillaEthiopia
  2. 2.National HerbariumAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.Royal Botanic GardensKew, RichmondUK
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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