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Crop Science Abstract - Plant Genetic Resources

Low Genetic Differentiation and Evidence of Gene Flow among Barley Landrace Populations in Tunisia


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 57 No. 3, p. 1585-1593
    Received: May 03, 2016
    Accepted: Dec 20, 2016
    Published: June 16, 2017

    * Corresponding author(s): zoghlami_n@yahoo.fr
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  1. Mériam Ben Romdhanea,
  2. Leila Riahib,
  3. Ayet Selmia,
  4. Rahma Jardaka,
  5. Aida Bouajilaa,
  6. Abdelwahed Ghorbela and
  7. Nejia Zoghlami *a
  1. a Laboratoire de Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes, Centre de Biotechnologie Borj Cedria, B.P. 901, Hammam-Lif 2050, Tunisia
    b Laboratoire de Biotechnologie et Valorisation des Bio-Géo Ressources (LR11ES31), Institut Supérieur de Biotechnologie, Univ. de La Manouba Biotechpole de Sidi Thabet, Sidi Thabet 2020, Ariana, Tunisia


Tunisian barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) landraces, representing the oldest cultivated accessions, are growing in scattered populations across drought- and salt-stressed environments and constitute a precious reservoir of potentially useful traits for breeding programs. The objective of this study was to elucidate genetic diversity and population structure of barley landraces across the landscape of Tunisia. Populations from 11 geographic zones were genotyped using 21 nuclear microsatellites. A high level of genetic polymorphism with 170 detected alleles was recorded among the studied genotypes. The average allelic richness was 8.095 alleles per locus. The index of genetic diversity (He) showed an average of 0.741. Genetic diversity was very high within populations, whereas differences among populations were difficult to detect. Only 0.15% of the DNA variation was apportioned among landraces (P < 0.001), whereas 99.85% of the DNA variation was maintained within these landraces. A high gene flow (Nm) was revealed among the investigated populations, which has been facilitated by exchange of barley seeds between Tunisian cereal farmers of different regions. Genetic diversity within Tunisian barley landrace germplasms may help to maintain adaptation to a broad range of environmental conditions and provide genetically diverse resources for barley breeders. Both ex situ (seed banks) and in situ (on-farm) conservation strategies may be required to maintain barley landrace genetic resources.

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