Molecular Genetic Diversity and Population Structure in Ethiopian Chickpea Germplasm Accessions
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is a cheap source of protein and rich in minerals for people living in developing countries. In order to assess the existing molecular genetic diversity and determine population structures in selected Ethiopian chickpea germplasm accessions (118), a set of 46 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers equally distributed on the chickpea genome were genotyped. A total of 572 alleles were detected from 46 SSR markers, and the number of alleles per locus varied from 2 (ICCM0289) to 28 (TA22). The average number of alleles per locus, polymorphism information content, and expected heterozygosity were 12, 0.684, and 0.699, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis grouped the 118 chickpea genotypes from diverse sources into three evolutionary and/or biological groups (improved desi, improved kabuli, and landraces). The population structure analysis revealed six sub-populations from 118 chickpea genotypes studied. AMOVA revealed that 57%, 29%, and 14% of the total genetic variations were observed among individuals, within populations, and among populations. The insights into the genetic diversity at molecular levels in the Ethiopian germplasm lines can be used for designing conservation strategies as well as the diverse germplasm lines identified in this study can be used for trait dissection and trait improvement.