Research Article

Variation and genetic structure of Tunisian Festuca arundinacea populations based on inter-simple sequence repeat pattern

Published: April 10, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (2) : 3071-3081 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4238/2015.April.10.17
Cite this Article:
(2015). Variation and genetic structure of Tunisian Festuca arundinacea populations based on inter-simple sequence repeat pattern. Genet. Mol. Res. 14(2): gmr4710. https://doi.org/10.4238/2015.April.10.17
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Abstract

Tunisian tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is an important grass for forages or soil conservation, particularly in marginal sites. Inter-simple sequence repeats were used to estimate genetic diversity within and among 8 natural populations and 1 cultivar from Northern Tunisia. A total of 181 polymorphic inter-simple sequence repeat markers were generated using 7 primers. Shannon’s index and analysis of molecular variance evidenced a high molecular polymorphism at intra-specific levels for wild and cultivated accessions, showing that Tunisian tall fescue germplasm constitutes an important pool of diversity. Within-population variation accounted for 39.42% of the total variation, but no regional differentiation was discernible to designate close relationships between regions. Most of the variation (GST = 67%) occurred between populations, rather than within populations. The ɸST (0.60) revealed high population structuring. Additionally, the population structure was independent of the geographic origin and was not affected by environmental factors. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean tree based on genetic similarity and principal coordinate analysis based on coefficient similarity illustrated that continental populations from the proximate localities of Beja and Jendouba were genetically closely related, while the wild Skalba population from the littoral Tunisian locality was the most diverse from the others. Moreover, great molecular similarity of the spontaneous population Sedjnane originated from the mountain areas was revealed with the local cultivar Mornag. The observed genetic diversity can be used to implement conservation strategies and breeding programs for improving forage crops in Tunisia.

Tunisian tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is an important grass for forages or soil conservation, particularly in marginal sites. Inter-simple sequence repeats were used to estimate genetic diversity within and among 8 natural populations and 1 cultivar from Northern Tunisia. A total of 181 polymorphic inter-simple sequence repeat markers were generated using 7 primers. Shannon’s index and analysis of molecular variance evidenced a high molecular polymorphism at intra-specific levels for wild and cultivated accessions, showing that Tunisian tall fescue germplasm constitutes an important pool of diversity. Within-population variation accounted for 39.42% of the total variation, but no regional differentiation was discernible to designate close relationships between regions. Most of the variation (GST = 67%) occurred between populations, rather than within populations. The ɸST (0.60) revealed high population structuring. Additionally, the population structure was independent of the geographic origin and was not affected by environmental factors. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean tree based on genetic similarity and principal coordinate analysis based on coefficient similarity illustrated that continental populations from the proximate localities of Beja and Jendouba were genetically closely related, while the wild Skalba population from the littoral Tunisian locality was the most diverse from the others. Moreover, great molecular similarity of the spontaneous population Sedjnane originated from the mountain areas was revealed with the local cultivar Mornag. The observed genetic diversity can be used to implement conservation strategies and breeding programs for improving forage crops in Tunisia.