Barley is a major cereal grown widely and used in several food products, beverage production and animal feed. Being the fourth most important cereal crop in the world and the fifth rank in Ethiopia, it is a cash crop and used as a source of malt by the brewery industries, as food for human and feed for animals. Genetic diversity assessment is a key component in breeding programs. High level of polymorphism, codominant and multi allelic nature of simple sequence repeats (SSRs) markers make them preferable for diversity analysis in plant species. In this study, 22 SSRs markers were used to characterize the genetic diversity of 39 released and elite barley varieties collected from barley breeding program in Ethiopia. The amplification of SSRs loci were obtained for 35 primer pairs and only 22 of them showed clear polymorphic patterns which produced a total of 73 alleles with an average of 5 alleles per locus. The data generated by these informative primers were sufficient to discriminate the analysed barley genotypes. Based on the dissimilarity matrices ranging from 0.11 to 0.58, the genotypes were grouped into three major groups. The calculated polymorphism information content (PIC) values ranges from 0.17 to 0.60 with an average of 0.47 which shows the importance of the markers for future diversity analysis of barley. Locus HVACL1 and HVM36 shows higher PIC and locus HVBDHN7 shows lower PIC in this characterized barley genotype. This result will be useful for barley germplasm management and improvement in terms of biodiversity protection and design of new crosses for future breeding purpose.
Key words: Barley, elite, polymorphism information content (PIC), released, similarity, simple sequence repeats (SSRs), varieties.
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