Molecular Breeding

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

Diversity changes in an intensively bred wheat germplasm during the 20th century

  • M.J. Christiansen
  • S.B. AndersenEmail author
  • R. Ortiz


Plant breeding may lead to narrowing genetic diversity of cultivatedcrops, thereby affecting sustained selection gains in crop improvement. A totalof 47 microsatellite primer pairs (mapped to the 21 wheat genetic linkagegroups) were assessed in 75 Nordic spring wheat cultivars bred during the20th century to determine the variation of genetic diversity in thisgermplasm throughout this period. The number of alleles ranged from one toseven, with an average of 3.6 alleles per microsatellite marker. A dendrogramresulting from analysis of the matrix of dissimilarities using the unweightedpair-group method with arithmetic average discriminated all cultivars andrevealed clusters of accessions released both from some geographical area inthe Nordic Region and the breeding era, i.e. before and after World War II. Geneticdiversity in this wheat material increased from 1900 to 1940 and again from1960 onwards. In between these two periods there was a loss of diversity, whichcould not be explained by changes in a single genome or in one or few chromosomesets. Effects of different selection within countries are revealed by cleardifferences in frequency of some microsatellite alleles. In adition somemicrosatellite alleles were lost during the first quarter of the century whileseveral new alleles were introduced in the Nordic spring wheat material duringthe second half of the century. These results suggest that genetic diversity inNordic spring wheat was enhanced by plant breeding in the first quarter of the20th century and following a decrease during the second quarter wasincreased again by plant breeding.

Genetic diversity Microsatellite (MS) Simple sequence repeats (SSR) Triticum aestivum Wheat 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural SciencesThe Royal Veterinary and Agricultural UniversityFrederiksberg CDenmark

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