Lepidium sativum L. (family Brassicaceae), is underutilized medicinal plant with worldwide distribution. In Ethiopia, L. sativum occurs in all regions and agro-ecologies at different altitudinal ranges. The study was conducted to assess the genetic diversity of L. sativum populations from Ethiopia using molecular marker and agronomic traits. Molecular data generated from inter simple sequence repeat bands recorded was used for computing gene diversity, percent polymorphism, Shannon diversity index and analysis of molecular variance. Moreover, the inter simple sequence repeat data was used to construct unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean, neighbor joining trees and principal co-ordinate plot using Jaccard’s coefficient. Tigray and Amhara L. sativum populations showed higher gene diversity (0.24) and Shannon information index (0.35). Both unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean and principal co-ordinate analysis showed very weak grouping among individuals collected from the same regions. Generally, Tigray and Amhara regions showed moderate to high diversity in inter simple sequence repeat analysis. Different geographical regions of Ethiopia, showed different levels of variation; thus, conservation priority should be given to those regions that have genetic diversity. This result also indicates the presence of genetic diversity that can be exploited to improve the productivity of L. sativum in Ethiopia.
Key words: Genetic diversity, inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR), Lepidium sativum, morphology.
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