Maize (Zea mays L.) occupies an important place among food crops in Côte d’Ivoire. However, no study on the genetic diversity of the species has been performed to date. This study aims at analyzing the diversity and genetic structure of 35 maize accessions using 10 microsatellite markers. These accessions are from different agro-ecological zones representative of the Ivorian territory. The results showed that for all accessions studied, 47 alleles were detected, with an average of 6.71 ± 2.21 alleles per locus. The percentage of polymorphic loci and total genetic diversity, were 91.34% and 0.524 ± 0.159. A slight excess of heterozygotes was observed in the accessions (4.6%). The molecular analysis of variance showed that the total genetic diversity is mainly due to the intra-accession diversity (85.17%). The inter-accession diversity rate was estimated at 14.87%, which is in favor of moderate differentiation between the accessions. The Bayesian analysis grouped the accessions into two populations, regardless of geographical origin. These results provide basic information potentially useful in selection. The cross between two individuals from different groups might help exploit the phenomenon of heterosis.
Key words: Ex situ conservation, Côte d’Ivoire, genetic diversity, maize, microsatellite marker.
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