Molecular characterization of intrapopulation genetic diversity in Chenopodium quinoa (Chenopodiaceae)
Chenopodium quinoa is a species native to South America. It continues to be cultivated in various regions of that continent, especially in Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, with wide adaptability to different agroecological conditions and great nutritional value. It is a food security crop in the Andean region. It presents great variability in its characteristics; however, genetic studies in Colombia are scarce. Though the Boyacá is one of the main quinoa producing departments in Colombia, there have been few studies on the characterization of genetic diversity in cultivated materials in this region. There are no certified planting materials, and various morphotypes are observed in the field within the same crop. We examined the genetic diversity, using microsatellites, of 54 Piartal and Blanca de Jericó morphotypes, selected for their different phenotypic characteristics on producer farms in seven municipalities in the department of Boyacá. The cluster analyses showed similarity values greater than 0.70, with a laxa distribution of individuals in each of the populations. The observed heterozygosity values were lower than the expected heterozygosity values, between 0.4 and 0.6, demonstrating a greater frequency of homozygous individuals. The analysis of genetic diversity showed high genetic differentiation between the individuals in these populations. The analysis of molecular variance showed that 82% of the observed genetic variability in the evaluated quinoa materials was due to components within the groups and that the remaining 18% was attributed to differences between the groups, which indicated that microgeographic studies at the intra-group level are warranted. The results revealed intra-population diversity, which suggests that farmers within their farms should undergo a more rigorous seed selection process.