Genetic Diversity in Napier Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) Assessed by SSR Markers
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Understanding of genetic diversity among Napier grass is very important for selection and improvement of Napier grass breeding population. This study determined the genetic diversity among the farmer preferred, wild (local) and selected ILRI gene-bank Napier grass clones using 23 SSR markers selected from pearl millet, maize and sorghum. The results indicated polymorphism among the SSR markers, revealing a total of 339 alleles of which 27.1% alleles were unique, occurring either only in local, farmers preferred or ILRI clones. Similarly, genetic diversity and observed heterozygosity were highest in the local than in farmers’ preferred and least in the ILRI gene-bank clones. The clones clustered in two groups with a few overlaps, although most of the farmer’s grown Napier grass clones grouped with those from ILRI genebank and clone P99, emphasizing their genetic relatedness. Therefore, the unique alleles revealed in the local clones may be associated with adaptability to local environments. These alleles could, therefore, be exploited for genetic improvement of the farmer preferred Napier grass.