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Title: Assessing the Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of a Tunisian Melon (Cucumis melo L.) Collection Using Phenotypic Traits and SSR Molecular Markers
Authors: Chikh Rouhou, Hela
Mezghani, Najla
Mnasri, Sameh
Mezghani, Neila
Garcés Claver, Ana
Issue Date: 2021
Citation: Agronomy, vol. 11, num. 6, (2021)
Abstract: The assessment of genetic diversity and structure of a gene pool is a prerequisite for efficient organization, conservation, and utilization for crop improvement. This study evaluated the genetic diversity and population structure of 24 Tunisian melon accessions, by using 24 phenotypic traits and eight microsatellite (SSR) markers. A considerable phenotypic diversity among accessions was observed for many characters including those related to agronomical performance. All the microsatellites were polymorphic and detected 30 distinct alleles with a moderate (0.43) polymorphic information content. Shannon’s diversity index (0.82) showed a high degree of polymorphism between melon genotypes. The observed heterozygosity (0.10) was less than the expected heterozygosity (0.12), displaying a deficit in heterozygosity because of selection pressure. Molecular clustering and structure analyses based on SSRs separated melon accessions into five groups and showed an intermixed genetic structure between landraces and breeding lines belonging to the different botanical groups. Phenotypic clustering separated the accessions into two main clusters belonging to sweet and non-sweet melon; however, a more precise clustering among inodorus, cantalupensis, and reticulatus subgroups was obtained using combined phenotypic–molecular data. The discordance between phenotypic and molecular data was confirmed by a negative correlation (r = −0.16, p = 0.06) as revealed by the Mantel test. Despite these differences, both markers provided important information about the diversity of the melon germplasm, allowing the correct use of these accessions in future breeding programs. Together they provide a powerful tool for future agricultural and conservation tasks.
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Appears in Collections:[DOCIART] Artículos científicos, técnicos y divulgativos

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