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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Novel Expressed Sequence Tag-Derived and Other Genomic Simple Sequence Repeat Markers Revealed Genetic Diversity in Ethiopian Finger Millet Landrace Populations and Cultivars

Brhane, Haftom; Haileselassie, Teklehaimanot; Tesfaye, Kassahun; Hammenhag, Cecilia; Ortiz, Rodomiro; Abreha, Kibrom Berhe; Dida, Mulatu Geleta


Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Geartn.) is a self-pollinating amphidiploid crop cultivated with minimal input for food and feed, as well as a source of income for small-scale farmers. To efficiently assess its genetic diversity for conservation and use in breeding programs, polymorphic DNA markers that represent its complex tetraploid genome have to be developed and used. In this study, 13 new expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers were developed based on publicly available finger millet ESTs. Using 10 polymorphic SSR markers (3 genomic and 7 novel EST-derived), the genetic diversity of 55 landrace accessions and 5 cultivars of finger millet representing its major growing areas in Ethiopia was assessed. In total, 26 alleles were detected across the 10 loci, and the average observed number of alleles per locus was 5.6. The polymorphic information content (PIC) of the loci ranged from 0.045 (Elco-48) to 0.71 (UGEP-66). The level of genetic diversity did not differ much between the accessions with the mean gene diversity estimates ranging only from 0.44 (accession 216054) to 0.68 (accession 237443). Similarly, a narrow range of variation was recorded at the level of regional states ranging from 0.54 (Oromia) to 0.59 (Amhara and Tigray). Interestingly, the average gene diversity of the landrace accessions (0.57) was similar to that of the cultivars (0.58). The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed significant genetic variation both within and among accessions. The variation among the accessions accounted for 18.8% of the total variation (FST = 0.19; P < 0.001). Similarly, significant genetic variation was obtained among the geographic regions, accounting for 6.9% of the total variation (P < 0.001). The results of the cluster, principal coordinate, and population structure analyses suggest a poor correlation between the genetic makeups of finger millet landrace populations and their geographic regions of origin, which in turn suggests strong gene flow between populations within and across geographic regions. This study contributed novel EST-SSR markers for their various applications, and those that were monomorphic should be tested in more diverse finger millet genetic resources.


amphidiploid; expressed sequence tag,; finger millet; genetic diversity; molecular markers

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2021, Volume: 12, article number: 735610