Efficiency of phenotypic and DNA markers for a genetic diversity study of alfalfa
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Information on genetic diversity and germplasm characterization is essential for successful crop improvement. Diverse data sets (pedigree, morphological, biochemical, DNA based-markers) are employed in various aspects of plant analysis. The objective of this study was to determine the efficiency of phenotypic and RAPD markers in diversity assessment of ten alfalfa (Medicago spp.) accessions from Europe, North America and Australia. Field experiment was designed as a randomised complete block with three replications over two consecutive years (2004, 2005) at one location. Twelve morpho-agronomic traits were recorded on 50 plants per each accession. Genomic DNA’s from 16–20 randomly selected individual plants per accession were used for RAPD analysis. Six primers selected in this study generated a total of 93 polymorphic RAPD bands. The number of polymorphic bands detected per primer ranged from 11 to 20. Genetic distances (GD) among investigated accessions and two-dimensional principal coordinate analysis (2D PCoA) based on phenotypic and molecular data were obtained. The average GD between (0.283–0.416) and within (0.247–0.332) accessions based on RAPD data was higher than GD values obtained by morpho-agronomic traits (0.171–0.354 and 0.157–0.261, respectively). 2D PCoA based on GD from RAPD data grouped most of the studied individual plants to four clusters according to their geographical or taxonomy origin. 2D PCoA based only on morpho-agronomic data did not group plants congruently to their origin, probably due to a strong environmental influence on studied traits. Our results indicated that the RAPD markers were effective in assessing genetic diversity within and between studied alfalfa accessions. In addition, the obtained results suggested that the RAPD markers might be useful for grouping of germplasm with similar genetic background and for pre-screening of potential heterotic groups in our breeding programme.
KeywordsPolymorphic Band Medicago Sativa Randomise Complete Block Similar Genetic Background Taxonomy Origin
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