This paper show that inter-subspecies hybridization among certain Vigna unguiculata subspecies, occurred during the course of evolution. This has affected several regions of the genome and is interfering with the dependable assessment of sub-species relationships using single (rRNA regions) or multilocus markers.
Background and aims
Intra-species hybridization and incompletely homogenized ribosomal RNA repeat units have earlier been reported in 21 accessions of Vigna unguiculata from six subspecies using internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and 5S intergenic spacer (IGS) analyses. However, the relationships among these accessions were not clear from these analyses. We therefore assessed intra-species hybridization in the same set of accessions.
Arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction (AP-PCR) analysis was carried out using 12 primers. The PCR products were resolved on agarose gels and the DNA fragments were scored manually. Genetic relationships were inferred by TREECON software using unweighted paired group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) cluster analysis evaluated by bootstrapping and compared with previous analyses based on ITS and 5S IGS.
A total of 202 (86 %) fragments were found to be polymorphic and used for generating a genetic distance matrix. Twenty-one V. unguiculata accessions were grouped into three main clusters. The cultivated subspecies (var. unguiculata) and most of its wild progenitors (var. spontanea) were placed in cluster I along with ssp. pubescens and ssp. stenophylla. Whereas var. spontanea were grouped with ssp. alba and ssp. tenuis accessions in cluster II, ssp. alba and ssp. baoulensis were included in cluster III. Close affinities of ssp. unguiculata, ssp. alba and ssp. tenuis suggested inter-subspecies hybridization.
Multi-locus AP-PCR analysis reveals that intra-species hybridization is prevalent among V. unguiculata subspecies and suggests that grouping of accessions from two different subspecies is not solely due to the similarity in the ITS and 5S IGS regions but also due to other regions of the genome.