Genetic diversity in Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) cultivars: implications for breeding and conservation


Napier grass is an important forage crop for dairy production in the tropics; as such, its existing genetic diversity needs to be assessed for conservation. The current study assessed the genetic variation of Napier grass col lections from selected regions in Eastern Africa and the International Livestock Research Institute Forage Germplasm Ethiopia. The diversity of 281 cultivars was investigated using five selective amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers and classical population genetic parameters analysed using various software. The number of bands generated was 216 with fragments per primer set ranging from 50 to 115. Mean percentage polymorphic loci was 63.40. Genetic diversity coefficients based on Nei’s genetic diversity ranged from 0.0783 to 0.2142 and Shannon’s in formation index ranged from 0.1293 to 0.3445. The Fst value obtained was moderately significant (Fst ¼ 0.1688). Neighbour-joining analysis gave two distinct clusters which did not reflect geographical locations. Analysis of molecu lar variance showed all variance components to be highly significant (P , 0.001), indicating more variation within (91 %) than between populations (9 %). Results suggested moderate genetic differentiation among Napier grass popu lations sampled, which could imply a high germplasm exchange within the region. The AFLP markers used in this study efficiently discriminate among cultivars and could be useful in identification and germplasm conservation.




AFLP, conservation, cultivars, genetic diversity, germplasm, Napier grass


Wanjala, B. W., Obonyo, M., Wachira, F. N., Muchugi, A., Mulaa, M., Harvey, J., ... & Hanson, J. (2013). Genetic diversity in Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) cultivars: implications for breeding and conservation. AoB Plants, 5, plt022.