In order to exploit the important agronomic traits that make Oryza glaberrima Steud suitable for harsh growing conditions, 79 Riz Africain du Mali (RAM) including four checks of known cultivated rice species (Oryza sativa and O. glaberrima) were used for both field evaluation over two seasons (2007 and 2008) and assessment of molecular diversity. The molecular characterization showed all the 37 SSR markers used amplified and were polymorphic. The average heterozygosity of the accessions were relatively higher (0.18) than some earlier studies. The population from Mopti and Gao had a higher genetic diversity than other populations. Clustering of individuals showed no clear pattern of grouping based on either location or growing condition; this is due to the higher gene flow (Nm = 7.83) that may occur between different growing condition within location. Moreover, populations from different locations were highly differentiated (fst = 0.06) as compared to populations from different growing conditions (fst = 0.03). The dendrogram based on populations from different growing conditions revealed more similarity among populations with relatively similar growing conditions. Accessions such as, RAM116, RAM100 and RAM122, performed better under drought with a grain weight advantage of 40, 16 and 6.7% respectively over the best performing check.
Key words: Genetic diversity, SSR markers, drought tolerance, Oryza glaberrima.
Abbreviations: SSR, Simple sequence repeat; CTAB, cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide; RFLP, restriction fragment length polymorphism.
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