African Journal of
Biotechnology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12193

Full Length Research Paper

Genetic structure and diversity of East African taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott]

Mercy Wairimu Macharia*
  • Mercy Wairimu Macharia*
  • Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya; Biosciences East and Central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute, Hub, P.O. Box 30709-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Steven Maina Runo
  • Steven Maina Runo
  • Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Alice Njeri Muchugi
  • Alice Njeri Muchugi
  • Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Valerie Palapala
  • Valerie Palapala
  • Department of Biological Sciences, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 190-50100, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 15 July 2013
  •  Accepted: 08 May 2014
  •  Published: 16 July 2014

Abstract

Taro [Colocasia esculenta (L) Schott] is mainly produced in Africa by small holder farmers and plays an important role in the livelihood of millions of poor people in less developed countries. The genetic diversity of East African taro has not been determined. This study utilizes six microsatellite primers to analyze five populations of taro from three different regions of East Africa. Plant material consisted of 98 taro cultivars obtained from East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). Principal component analysis of microsatellite data indicated variation but did not show any distinct structure. Population diversity estimate was relatively low with the highest being 0.27, for accessions sourced from Lake Victoria basin. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed most variation among individuals within population at 79%. Nei’s genetic distance showed that relatedness is not based on geographical proximity. Based on these findings, this study proposes establishment of a regional collection that will be conserved and ensure a broad genetic base for available varieties and enable development of improved varieties through breeding programmes.

 

Key words: Genetic diversity, simple sequence repeats (SSRs), taro.