The assessment of genetic diversity is a key prerequisite for studying the adaptation of populations to new environmental conditions, and therefore for the selection of new varieties. The present investigation aimed to estimate the levels and genetic structure within bread wheat varieties grown in Cameroon. Thus, genetic diversity was assessed in 17 hexaploid wheat cultivars, using 11 microsatellite markers. Genetic resources were collected in the Northwest, Adamawa and North Regions. All pairs of specific marker loci used gave amplifications with allelic variations of size on all DNA of wheat accessions. A total of 77 alleles were detected among cultivars and the number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 13 with an average of 7, comparable to those observed in most previous studies. Gene diversity ranged from 0.46 (Xgdm 125) to 0.90 (Xgwm 177) with an average of 0.88, increasing with the number of alleles, with a correlation coefficient of 0.88 (Adamawa) and 0.76 (Northwest). Microsatellite markers used had an average value of polymorphic information content (PIC) of 0.69, indicating that these markers are highly informative in this study. These markers are valid and will make a contribution to the studies in hexaploid wheat. Moreover, cluster analysis at a genetic similarity of 80% and the principal component analysis, where the first two components explaining 59.86% of variation which structured 17 accessions in 5 main distinct groups. This high diversity revealed among wheat accessions, grown in Cameroon could be used in the breeding programs.
Key words: Genetic diversity, bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), simple sequence repeats (SSR), Cameroon.
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