A minimum core subset of pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.], which comprised 504 landrace accessions, was recently established from the global pearl millet germplasm collection of ICRISAT. The accessions for this core were selected by a random proportional sampling strategy following stratification of the entire landrace collection (about 16,000 accessions) according to their geographic origin and morpho-agronomic traits. In this study RFLP probes were used to quantify the genetic diversity within and between landrace accessions of this minimum core using a subset comprising ten accessions of Indian origin. Twenty five plants per accession were assayed with EcoRI, EcoRV, HindIII and DraI restriction enzymes, and 16 highly polymorphic RFLP probes, nine associated with a quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for downy mildew resistance, and five associated with a QTL for drought tolerance. A total of 51 alleles were detected using 16 different probe-enzyme combinations. The partitioning of variance components based on the analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) for diversity analysis revealed high within-accession variability (30.9%), but the variability between accessions was significantly higher (69.1%) than that within the accessions. A dendrogram based on the dissimilarity matrix obtained using Ward's algorithm further delineated the 250 plants into ten major clusters, each comprised of plants from a single accession (with the exception of two single plants). A similar result was found in an earlier study using morpho-agronomic traits and geographic origin. This study demonstrated the utility of RFLP markers in detecting polymorphism and estimating genetic diversity in a highly cross-pollinated species such as pearl millet. When less-tedious marker systems are available, this method could be further extended to assess the genetic diversity between and within the remaining accessions in the pearl millet core subset.
Ranjana Bhattacharjee; Bramel, P.; Hash, C.; Kolesnikova-Allen, M.; Khairwal, I. Assessment of genetic diversity within and between pearl millet landraces. TAG Theoretical and Applied Genetics (2002) 105 (5) 666-673. [DOI: 10.1007/s00122-002-0917-1]