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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Novel GBS-Based SNP Markers for Finger Millet and Their Use in Genetic Diversity Analyses

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


Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn., commonly known as finger millet, is a multipurpose crop used for food and feed. Genomic tools are required for the characterization of crop gene pools and their genomics-led breeding. High-throughput sequencing-based characterization of finger millet germplasm representing diverse agro-ecologies was considered an effective method for determining its genetic diversity, thereby suggesting potential candidates for breeding. In this study, the genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) method was used to simultaneously identify novel single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and genotype 288 finger millet accessions collected from Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. The accessions were characterized at individual and group levels using 5,226 bi-allelic SNPs, with a minimum allele frequency (MAF) of above 0.05, distributed across 2,500 scaffolds of the finger millet reference genome. The polymorphism information content (PIC) of the SNPs was 0.23 on average, and a quarter of them have PIC values over 0.32, making them highly informative. The grouping of the 288 accessions into seven populations based on geographic proximity and the potential for germplasm exchange revealed a narrow range of observed heterozygosity (Ho; 0.09-0.11) and expected heterozygosity (He) that ranged over twofold, from 0.11 to 0.26. Alleles unique to the different groups were also identified, which merit further investigation for their potential association with desirable traits. The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed a highly significant genetic differentiation among groups of accessions classified based on the geographic region, country of origin, days to flowering, panicle type, and Al tolerance (p < 0.01). The high genetic differentiation between Ethiopian and Zimbabwean accessions was evident in the AMOVA, cluster, principal coordinate, and population structure analyses. The level of genetic diversity of finger millet accessions varies moderately among locations within Ethiopia, with accessions from the northern region having the lowest level. In the neighbor-joining cluster analysis, most of the improved cultivars included in this study were closely clustered, probably because they were developed using genetically less diverse germplasm and/or selected for similar traits, such as grain yield. The recombination of alleles via crossbreeding genetically distinct accessions from different regions of the two countries can potentially lead to the development of superior cultivars.


finger millet; gene diversity; genotyping-by-sequencing; single nucleotide polymorphism; tetraploid

Published in

Frontiers in Genetics
2022, volume: 13, article number: 848627

Authors' information

Addis Ababa University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Haileselassie, Teklehaimanot
Addis Ababa University
Tesfaye, Kassahun
Ministry of Science and Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Geleta, Mulatu Dida (Dida, Mulatu Geleta)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Plant Biotechnology
Agricultural Science
Genetics and Breeding

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