Molecular genetic variability, population structure and mating system in tropical forages

Melissa Garcia, Bianca B.Z. Vigna, Adna C.B. Sousa, Letícia Jungmann, Fernanda W. Cidade, Guilherme Toledo-Silva, Patricia M. Francisco, Lucimara Chiari, Marcelo A. Carvalho, Claudio T. Karia, Fabio G. Faleiro, Rodolfo Godoy, M. Dall’Agnol, Sueli S. Pagliarini, Francisco H.D. Souza, Tatiana T. Souza-Chies, Liana Jank, Rosangela M.S. Resende, Cacilda B. do Valle, Maria I. Zucchi, Anete P. Souza


Microsatellite (SSR) markers were developed for the following tropical forage species, using accessions available from the plant genetic resources (PGR) collections held by EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation): Brachiaria brizantha, B. humidicola, Panicum maximum, Paspalum spp., Stylosanthes capitata, S. guianensis, S. macrocephala, Calopogonium mucunoides and Centrosema spp. The markers were used to analyze population structure and genetic diversity, evolution and origin of the genetic variability in the center of origin, mating systems and genetic resources in EMBRAPA’s germplasm bank. The results shed light on the amount of genetic variation within and between populations, revealed the need in some cases for further plant collection to adequately represent the species in PGR collections, allowed us to assemble core collections (subsets of the total collections) that should contain most of the available diversity and (in the case of the legumes) showed the need to avoid unwanted outcrossing when regenerating conserved material. The data will allow plant breeders to better select accessions for hybrid production, discriminate between genotypes and use marker-assisted selection in breeding programs. Our results will also underpin the construction of genetic maps, mapping of genes of agronomic interest and numerous other studies on genetic variability, population structure, gene flow and reproductive systems for the tropical forage species studied in this work.

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