The Ethiopian genetic center is considered to be one of the secondary centers of diversity for the common bean. This study was conducted to characterize the distribution of genetic diversity between and within ecological/geographical regions of Ethiopia. A germplasm sample of 116 landrace accessions was developed, which represented different common bean production ecologies and seed types common in the country. This sample was then analyzed with 24 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers to assess the genetic diversity within and between common bean landraces, classifying them based on SSR clustering, and determining relationships between genetic and agroecological diversity. Representatives of both Andean and Mesoamerican gene pools were identified by STRUCTURE software analysis, as well as a high proportion of hybrid accessions as evidenced by a STRUCTURE K = 2 preset. At the optimum K = 5 preset value, mixed membership of Andean and Mesoamerican genotypes in some of the clusters was also seen, which supported previous findings. Cluster analyses, principal coordinate analysis, and analysis of molecular variance all indicated clustering of accessions from different collection sites, accompanied by high gene flow levels, highlighting the significant exchange of planting materials among farmers in different growing regions in the country. Values of allelic diversity were comparable to those reported in previous similar studies, showcasing the high genetic diversity in the landrace germplasm studied. Moreover, the distribution of genetic diversity across various bean-growing population groups in contrasting geographical/ecological population groups suggests elevated but underutilized potential of Ethiopian germplasm in common bean breeding. In summary, this study demonstrated the geographical, as well as gene pool diversity in common bean germplasm of Ethiopia. This substantial diversity, in turn, should be utilized in future common bean breeding and conservation endeavors in the nation.
Key words: Hybridity, simple sequence repeat, microsatellite, structure, seed exchange, gene flow.
Copyright © 2018 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0