Faidherbia albida (DEL.) A. Chev is widely grown in the northern region of Cameroon because of its many benefits to local communities. However, droughts and deforestation have led to decreases in the abundance of this species, increasing the need to identify improved genotypes for conservation, management, and breeding. The genetic diversity of F. albida in nine populations from the Sudano-Sahelian region of northern Cameroon was characterized using microsatellite (SSRs) markers. A total of 28 alleles were recorded across 8 loci and 255 samples. The effective mean number of alleles per locus was 2.3. Observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.24 to 0.30, while expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.22 to 0.26. For most loci, FIS was negative. Higher variation was observed within than among the northern Cameroon populations, and principal component and admixture analyses did not reveal any population substructure. Phenotypic diversity in 3-month-old seedlings was also characterized and significant within population variation was found for most morphological traits. Although some populations differed significantly for one or more traits, in general the populations were phenotypically similar. These results suggest little barrier to gene flow between populations of F. albida in northern Cameroon, and that no single provenance is likely to be superior for selection and breeding purposes.
Key words: Faidherbia albida, phenotypic, genotypic, variation, populations, breeding.
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