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1.  Influence of Ethnolinguistic Diversity on the Sorghum Genetic Patterns in Subsistence Farming Systems in Eastern Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92178.
Understanding the effects of actions undertaken by human societies on crop evolution processes is a major challenge for the conservation of genetic resources. This study investigated the mechanisms whereby social boundaries associated with patterns of ethnolinguistic diversity have influenced the on-farm distribution of sorghum diversity. Social boundaries limit the diffusion of planting material, practices and knowledge, thus shaping crop diversity in situ.
To assess the effect of social boundaries, this study was conducted in the contact zone between the Chuka, Mbeere and Tharaka ethnolinguistic groups in eastern Kenya. Sorghum varieties were inventoried and samples collected in 130 households. In all, 297 individual plants derived from seeds collected under sixteen variety names were characterized using a set of 18 SSR molecular markers and 15 morphological descriptors. The genetic structure was investigated using both a Bayesian assignment method and distance-based clustering. Principal Coordinates Analysis was used to describe the structure of the morphological diversity of the panicles. The distribution of the varieties and the main genetic clusters across ethnolinguistic groups was described using a non-parametric MANOVA and pairwise Fisher tests.
The spatial distribution of landrace names and the overall genetic spatial patterns were significantly correlated with ethnolinguistic partition. However, the genetic structure inferred from molecular makers did not discriminate the short-cycle landraces despite their morphological distinctness. The cases of two improved varieties highlighted possible fates of improved materials. The most recent one was often given the name of local landraces. The second one, that was introduced a dozen years ago, displays traces of admixture with local landraces with differential intensity among ethnic groups. The patterns of congruence or discordance between the nomenclature of farmers’ varieties and the structure of both genetic and morphological diversity highlight the effects of the social organization of communities on the diffusion of seed, practices, and variety nomenclature.
PMCID: PMC3956919  PMID: 24637745
2.  Massive Sorghum Collection Genotyped with SSR Markers to Enhance Use of Global Genetic Resources 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e59714.
Large ex situ collections require approaches for sampling manageable amounts of germplasm for in-depth characterization and use. We present here a large diversity survey in sorghum with 3367 accessions and 41 reference nuclear SSR markers. Of 19 alleles on average per locus, the largest numbers of alleles were concentrated in central and eastern Africa. Cultivated sorghum appeared structured according to geographic regions and race within region. A total of 13 groups of variable size were distinguished. The peripheral groups in western Africa, southern Africa and eastern Asia were the most homogeneous and clearly differentiated. Except for Kafir, there was little correspondence between races and marker-based groups. Bicolor, Caudatum, Durra and Guinea types were each dispersed in three groups or more. Races should therefore better be referred to as morphotypes. Wild and weedy accessions were very diverse and scattered among cultivated samples, reinforcing the idea that large gene-flow exists between the different compartments. Our study provides an entry to global sorghum germplasm collections. Our reference marker kit can serve to aggregate additional studies and enhance international collaboration. We propose a core reference set in order to facilitate integrated phenotyping experiments towards refined functional understanding of sorghum diversity.
PMCID: PMC3614975  PMID: 23565161
3.  Construction of Chromosome Segment Substitution Lines in Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Using a Wild Synthetic and QTL Mapping for Plant Morphology 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48642.
Chromosome segment substitution lines (CSSLs) are powerful QTL mapping populations that have been used to elucidate the molecular basis of interesting traits of wild species. Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid with limited genetic diversity. Capturing the genetic diversity from peanut wild relatives is an important objective in many peanut breeding programs. In this study, we used a marker-assisted backcrossing strategy to produce a population of 122 CSSLs from the cross between the wild synthetic allotetraploid (A. ipaënsis×A. duranensis)4x and the cultivated Fleur11 variety. The 122 CSSLs offered a broad coverage of the peanut genome, with target wild chromosome segments averaging 39.2 cM in length. As a demonstration of the utility of these lines, four traits were evaluated in a subset of 80 CSSLs. A total of 28 lines showed significant differences from Fleur11. The line×trait significant associations were assigned to 42 QTLs: 14 for plant growth habit, 15 for height of the main stem, 12 for plant spread and one for flower color. Among the 42 QTLs, 37 were assigned to genomic regions and three QTL positions were considered putative. One important finding arising from this QTL analysis is that peanut growth habit is a complex trait that is governed by several QTLs with different effects. The CSSL population developed in this study has proved efficient for deciphering the molecular basis of trait variations and will be useful to the peanut scientific community for future QTL mapping studies.
PMCID: PMC3501512  PMID: 23185268
4.  Genetic Structure, Linkage Disequilibrium and Signature of Selection in Sorghum: Lessons from Physically Anchored DArT Markers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33470.
Population structure, extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) as well as signatures of selection were investigated in sorghum using a core sample representative of worldwide diversity. A total of 177 accessions were genotyped with 1122 informative physically anchored DArT markers. The properties of DArTs to describe sorghum genetic structure were compared to those of SSRs and of previously published RFLP markers. Model-based (STRUCTURE software) and Neighbor-Joining diversity analyses led to the identification of 6 groups and confirmed previous evolutionary hypotheses. Results were globally consistent between the different marker systems. However, DArTs appeared more robust in terms of data resolution and bayesian group assignment. Whole genome linkage disequilibrium as measured by mean r2 decreased from 0.18 (between 0 to 10 kb) to 0.03 (between 100 kb to 1 Mb), stabilizing at 0.03 after 1 Mb. Effects on LD estimations of sample size and genetic structure were tested using i. random sampling, ii. the Maximum Length SubTree algorithm (MLST), and iii. structure groups. Optimizing population composition by the MLST reduced the biases in small samples and seemed to be an efficient way of selecting samples to make the best use of LD as a genome mapping approach in structured populations. These results also suggested that more than 100,000 markers may be required to perform genome-wide association studies in collections covering worldwide sorghum diversity. Analysis of DArT markers differentiation between the identified genetic groups pointed out outlier loci potentially linked to genes controlling traits of interest, including disease resistance genes for which evidence of selection had already been reported. In addition, evidence of selection near a homologous locus of FAR1 concurred with sorghum phenotypic diversity for sensitivity to photoperiod.
PMCID: PMC3302775  PMID: 22428056
5.  Fostered and left behind alleles in peanut: interspecific QTL mapping reveals footprints of domestication and useful natural variation for breeding 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:26.
Polyploidy can result in genetic bottlenecks, especially for species of monophyletic origin. Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid harbouring limited genetic diversity, likely resulting from the combined effects of its single origin and domestication. Peanut wild relatives represent an important source of novel alleles that could be used to broaden the genetic basis of the cultigen. Using an advanced backcross population developed with a synthetic amphidiploid as donor of wild alleles, under two water regimes, we conducted a detailed QTL study for several traits involved in peanut productivity and adaptation as well as domestication.
A total of 95 QTLs were mapped in the two water treatments. About half of the QTL positive effects were associated with alleles of the wild parent and several QTLs involved in yield components were specific to the water-limited treatment. QTLs detected for the same trait mapped to non-homeologous genomic regions, suggesting differential control in subgenomes as a consequence of polyploidization. The noteworthy clustering of QTLs for traits involved in seed and pod size and in plant and pod morphology suggests, as in many crops, that a small number of loci have contributed to peanut domestication.
In our study, we have identified QTLs that differentiated cultivated peanut from its wild relatives as well as wild alleles that contributed positive variation to several traits involved in peanut productivity and adaptation. These findings offer novel opportunities for peanut improvement using wild relatives.
PMCID: PMC3312858  PMID: 22340522
6.  The Relationship between Population Structure and Aluminum Tolerance in Cultivated Sorghum 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20830.
Acid soils comprise up to 50% of the world's arable lands and in these areas aluminum (Al) toxicity impairs root growth, strongly limiting crop yield. Food security is thereby compromised in many developing countries located in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. In sorghum, SbMATE, an Al-activated citrate transporter, underlies the AltSB locus on chromosome 3 and confers Al tolerance via Al-activated root citrate release.
Population structure was studied in 254 sorghum accessions representative of the diversity present in cultivated sorghums. Al tolerance was assessed as the degree of root growth inhibition in nutrient solution containing Al. A genetic analysis based on markers flanking AltSB and SbMATE expression was undertaken to assess a possible role for AltSB in Al tolerant accessions. In addition, the mode of gene action was estimated concerning the Al tolerance trait. Comparisons between models that include population structure were applied to assess the importance of each subpopulation to Al tolerance.
Six subpopulations were revealed featuring specific racial and geographic origins. Al tolerance was found to be rather rare and present primarily in guinea and to lesser extent in caudatum subpopulations. AltSB was found to play a role in Al tolerance in most of the Al tolerant accessions. A striking variation was observed in the mode of gene action for the Al tolerance trait, which ranged from almost complete recessivity to near complete dominance, with a higher frequency of partially recessive sources of Al tolerance. A possible interpretation of our results concerning the origin and evolution of Al tolerance in cultivated sorghum is discussed. This study demonstrates the importance of deeply exploring the crop diversity reservoir both for a comprehensive view of the dynamics underlying the distribution and function of Al tolerance genes and to design efficient molecular breeding strategies aimed at enhancing Al tolerance.
PMCID: PMC3114870  PMID: 21695088
7.  A saturated SSR/DArT linkage map of Musa acuminata addressing genome rearrangements among bananas 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:65.
The genus Musa is a large species complex which includes cultivars at diploid and triploid levels. These sterile and vegetatively propagated cultivars are based on the A genome from Musa acuminata, exclusively for sweet bananas such as Cavendish, or associated with the B genome (Musa balbisiana) in cooking bananas such as Plantain varieties. In M. acuminata cultivars, structural heterozygosity is thought to be one of the main causes of sterility, which is essential for obtaining seedless fruits but hampers breeding. Only partial genetic maps are presently available due to chromosomal rearrangements within the parents of the mapping populations. This causes large segregation distortions inducing pseudo-linkages and difficulties in ordering markers in the linkage groups. The present study aims at producing a saturated linkage map of M. acuminata, taking into account hypotheses on the structural heterozygosity of the parents.
An F1 progeny of 180 individuals was obtained from a cross between two genetically distant accessions of M. acuminata, 'Borneo' and 'Pisang Lilin' (P. Lilin). Based on the gametic recombination of each parent, two parental maps composed of SSR and DArT markers were established. A significant proportion of the markers (21.7%) deviated (p < 0.05) from the expected Mendelian ratios. These skewed markers were distributed in different linkage groups for each parent. To solve some complex ordering of the markers on linkage groups, we associated tools such as tree-like graphic representations, recombination frequency statistics and cytogenetical studies to identify structural rearrangements and build parsimonious linkage group order. An illustration of such an approach is given for the P. Lilin parent.
We propose a synthetic map with 11 linkage groups containing 489 markers (167 SSRs and 322 DArTs) covering 1197 cM. This first saturated map is proposed as a "reference Musa map" for further analyses. We also propose two complete parental maps with interpretations of structural rearrangements localized on the linkage groups. The structural heterozygosity in P. Lilin is hypothesized to result from a duplication likely accompanied by an inversion on another chromosome. This paper also illustrates a methodological approach, transferable to other species, to investigate the mapping of structural rearrangements and determine their consequences on marker segregation.
PMCID: PMC2923539  PMID: 20388207
8.  Genetic mapping of wild introgressions into cultivated peanut: a way toward enlarging the genetic basis of a recent allotetraploid 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:103.
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is widely used as a food and cash crop around the world. It is considered to be an allotetraploid (2n = 4x = 40) originated from a single hybridization event between two wild diploids. The most probable hypothesis gave A. duranensis as the wild donor of the A genome and A. ipaënsis as the wild donor of the B genome. A low level of molecular polymorphism is found in cultivated germplasm and up to date few genetic linkage maps have been published. The utilization of wild germplasm in breeding programs has received little attention due to the reproductive barriers between wild and cultivated species and to the technical difficulties encountered in making large number of crosses. We report here the development of a SSR based genetic map and the analysis of genome-wide segment introgressions into the background of a cultivated variety through the utilization of a synthetic amphidiploid between A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis.
Two hundred ninety eight (298) loci were mapped in 21 linkage groups (LGs), spanning a total map distance of 1843.7 cM with an average distance of 6.1 cM between adjacent markers. The level of polymorphism observed between the parent of the amphidiploid and the cultivated variety is consistent with A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis being the most probable donor of the A and B genomes respectively. The synteny analysis between the A and B genomes revealed an overall good collinearity of the homeologous LGs. The comparison with the diploid and tetraploid maps shed new light on the evolutionary forces that contributed to the divergence of the A and B genome species and raised the question of the classification of the B genome species. Structural modifications such as chromosomal segment inversions and a major translocation event prior to the tetraploidisation of the cultivated species were revealed. Marker assisted selection of BC1F1 and then BC2F1 lines carrying the desirable donor segment with the best possible return to the background of the cultivated variety provided a set of lines offering an optimal distribution of the wild introgressions.
The genetic map developed, allowed the synteny analysis of the A and B genomes, the comparison with diploid and tetraploid maps and the analysis of the introgression segments from the wild synthetic into the background of a cultivated variety. The material we have produced in this study should facilitate the development of advanced backcross and CSSL breeding populations for the improvement of cultivated peanut.
PMCID: PMC3091533  PMID: 19650911
9.  Insights into the Musa genome: Syntenic relationships to rice and between Musa species 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:58.
Musa species (Zingiberaceae, Zingiberales) including bananas and plantains are collectively the fourth most important crop in developing countries. Knowledge concerning Musa genome structure and the origin of distinct cultivars has greatly increased over the last few years. Until now, however, no large-scale analyses of Musa genomic sequence have been conducted. This study compares genomic sequence in two Musa species with orthologous regions in the rice genome.
We produced 1.4 Mb of Musa sequence from 13 BAC clones, annotated and analyzed them along with 4 previously sequenced BACs. The 443 predicted genes revealed that Zingiberales genes share GC content and distribution characteristics with eudicot and Poaceae genomes. Comparison with rice revealed microsynteny regions that have persisted since the divergence of the Commelinid orders Poales and Zingiberales at least 117 Mya. The previously hypothesized large-scale duplication event in the common ancestor of major cereal lineages within the Poaceae was verified. The divergence time distributions for Musa-Zingiber (Zingiberaceae, Zingiberales) orthologs and paralogs provide strong evidence for a large-scale duplication event in the Musa lineage after its divergence from the Zingiberaceae approximately 61 Mya. Comparisons of genomic regions from M. acuminata and M. balbisiana revealed highly conserved genome structure, and indicated that these genomes diverged circa 4.6 Mya.
These results point to the utility of comparative analyses between distantly-related monocot species such as rice and Musa for improving our understanding of monocot genome evolution. Sequencing the genome of M. acuminata would provide a strong foundation for comparative genomics in the monocots. In addition a genome sequence would aid genomic and genetic analyses of cultivated Musa polyploid genotypes in research aimed at localizing and cloning genes controlling important agronomic traits for breeding purposes.
PMCID: PMC2270835  PMID: 18234080

Results 1-9 (9)