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Genetic diversity in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] as revealed by RAPD markers

Abstract

The present study, using RAPD analysis, was undertaken to characterize genetic variation in domesticated cowpea and its wild progenitor, as well as their relationships. The materials used consisted of 26 domesticated accessions, including accessions from each of the five cultivar-group, and 30 wild/weedy accessions, including accessions from West, East and southern Africa. A total of 28 primers generated 202 RAPD bands. One hundred and eight bands were polymorphic among the domesticated compared to 181 among wild/weedy cowpea accessions. Wild accessions were more diverse in East Africa, which is the likely area of origin of V. unguiculata var. spontanea. Var. spontanea is supposed to have spread westward and southward, with a loss of variability, loss counterbalanceed in southern Africa by introgressions with local perennial subspecies. Although the variabilty of domesticated cowpea was the highest ever recorded, cultivar-groups were poorly resolved, and several results obtained with isozyme data were not confirmed here. However primitive cultivars were more diverse than evolved cultivars, which still suggests two consecutive bottlenecks within domesticated cowpea evolution. As isozymes and AFLP markers, although with a larger number of markers, RAPD data confirmed the single domestication hypothesis, the gap between wild and domesticated cowpea, and the widespread introgression phenomena between wild and domesticated cowpea.

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Ba, F.S., Pasquet, R.S. & Gepts, P. Genetic diversity in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] as revealed by RAPD markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 51, 539–550 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:GRES.0000024158.83190.4e

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  • Vigna unguiculata
  • Crop evolution
  • Domestication
  • Genetic diversity
  • Cowpea
  • RAPD