Investigation of recent population bottlenecks in Kenyan wild sorghum populations (Sorghum bicolor ssp verticilliflorum (Steud.) De Wet) based on microsatellite diversity and genetic disequilibria.

Muraya MM



Identifying populations that have recently suffered a severe reduction in size is particularly important for their conservation as they are likely to suffer an increased risk of genetic erosion. We investigated the presence of recent bottlenecks in two wild sorghum populations from different eco-geographical conditions in Kenya employing 18 microsatellite markers. Microsatellite analysis showed high allelic diversity in the two populations, with a mean of 4.11 and 6.94 alleles per locus in the North-West wild sorghum population (NWWSP) and the South-East wild sorghum population (SEWSP), respectively. The mean observed heterozygosity was 0.34 and 0.56 in NWWSP and SEWSP, respectively. A large long-term effective populations size for both populations was observed assuming either an infinite allele model or a stepwise mutation model. There was no apparent loss of genetic variability for either of the populations. Test of heterozygosity excess indicated that a recent bottleneck in the two populations is highly unlikely. Furthermore, analysis of the allele frequency distribution revealed an L-shaped distribution which would not have been observed in case a recent bottleneck had reduced genetic variability in the two populations. The fact that most loci displayed a significant heterozygosity deficiency could be explained by population subdivision and the mixed mating system exhibited by wild sorghum populations. Furthermore, the possibility of a historical expansion of wild sorghum populations and presence of null alleles could not be ruled out.



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