High selfing rate inferred for white fonio [Digitaria exilis (Kippist.) Stapf] reproductive system opens up opportunities for breeding programs
In a context of the global major changes, it is mandatory to enlarge the range of crops supporting food security and pay great attention to neglected and underutilized species. However, basic knowledge of the biology of many neglected and underutilized species is still lacking to increase their yields. In this study, the mating system of white fonio [Digitaria exilis (Kippist.) Stapf], a West African minor and promising cereal, is assessed. Progenies arrays from both homozygous and heterozygous mothers were genotyped with microsatellites markers. The rate of genotyping errors in the experiments was assessed and a likelihood framework was used to determine the probability of different mating systems: outcrossing, self-fertilization and apomixis. The results suggested that white fonio has a highly selfing reproductive system with a possible outcrossing rate of 1.7%. Understanding the reproduction system of white fonio opens up opportunities for more effective breeding programs and a wider use of this cereal for food security improvement.
KeywordsAgrobiodiversity Digitaria exilis Fonio millet Mating system NUS Poaceae SSR
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