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Development of DArT markers and assessment of diversity in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris, wilt pathogen of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.)

Mamta Sharma*, Avuthu Nagavardhini, Mahendar Thudi, Raju Ghosh, Suresh Pande and Rajeev K Varshney*

Author Affiliations

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru PO 502324, Andhra Pradesh, India

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:454  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-454

Published: 10 June 2014



Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris (Foc), the causal agent of Fusarium wilt of chickpea is highly variable and frequent recurrence of virulent forms have affected chickpea production and exhausted valuable genetic resources. The severity and yield losses of Fusarium wilt differ from place to place owing to existence of physiological races among isolates. Diversity study of fungal population associated with a disease plays a major role in understanding and devising better disease control strategies. The advantages of using molecular markers to understand the distribution of genetic diversity in Foc populations is well understood. The recent development of Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) offers new possibilities to study the diversity in pathogen population. In this study, we developed DArT markers for Foc population, analysed the genetic diversity existing within and among Foc isolates, compared the genotypic and phenotypic diversity and infer the race scenario of Foc in India.


We report the successful development of DArT markers for Foc and their utility in genotyping of Foc collections representing five chickpea growing agro-ecological zones of India. The DArT arrays revealed a total 1,813 polymorphic markers with an average genotyping call rate of 91.16% and a scoring reproducibility of 100%. Cluster analysis, principal coordinate analysis and population structure indicated that the different isolates of Foc were partially classified based on geographical source. Diversity in Foc population was compared with the phenotypic variability and it was found that DArT markers were able to group the isolates consistent with its virulence group. A number of race-specific unique and rare alleles were also detected.


The present study generated significant information in terms of pathogenic and genetic diversity of Foc which could be used further for development and deployment of region-specific resistant cultivars of chickpea. The DArT markers were proved to be a powerful diagnostic tool to study the genotypic diversity in Foc. The high number of DArT markers allowed a greater resolution of genetic differences among isolates and enabled us to examine the extent of diversity in the Foc population present in India, as well as provided support to know the changing race scenario in Foc population.

Chickpea; DArT; Fusarium wilt; Molecular markers; Races; Virulence