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Open Access Research article

Genetic structure and ecogeographical adaptation in wild barley (Hordeum chilense Roemer et Schultes) as revealed by microsatellite markers

Almudena Castillo1, Gabriel Dorado2, Catherine Feuillet3, Pierre Sourdille3 and Pilar Hernandez1*

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (IAS, CSIC), Alameda del Obispo s/n, 14080 Córdoba, Spain

2 Dep. Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Campus Rabanales, C6-1-E17, Universidad de Córdoba, 14071 Córdoba, Spain

3 INRA UBP UMR 1095, Genetics, Diversity & Ecophysiology of Cereals, Clermont Ferrand, France

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BMC Plant Biology 2010, 10:266  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-266

Published: 30 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Multi-allelic microsatellite markers have become the markers of choice for the determination of genetic structure in plants. Synteny across cereals has allowed the cross-species and cross-genera transferability of SSR markers, which constitute a valuable and cost-effective tool for the genetic analysis and marker-assisted introgression of wild related species. Hordeum chilense is one of the wild relatives with a high potential for cereal breeding, due to its high crossability (both interspecies and intergenera) and polymorphism for adaptation traits. In order to analyze the genetic structure and ecogeographical adaptation of this wild species, it is necessary to increase the number of polymorphic markers currently available for the species. In this work, the possibility of using syntenic wheat SSRs as a new source of markers for this purpose has been explored.

Results

From the 98 wheat EST-SSR markers tested for transferability and polymorphism in the wild barley genome, 53 primer pairs (54.0%) gave cross-species transferability and 20 primer pairs (20.4%) showed polymorphism. The latter were used for further analysis in the H. chilense germplasm. The H. chilense-Triticum aestivum addition lines were used to test the chromosomal location of the new polymorphic microsatellite markers. The genetic structure and diversity was investigated in a collection of 94 H. chilense accessions, using a set of 49 SSR markers distributed across the seven chromosomes. Microsatellite markers showed a total of 351 alleles over all loci. The number of alleles per locus ranged from two to 27, with a mean of 7.2 alleles per locus and a mean Polymorphic Information Content (PIC) of 0.5.

Conclusions

According to the results, the germplasm can be divided into two groups, with morphological and ecophysiological characteristics being key determinants of the population structure. Geographic and ecological structuring was also revealed in the analyzed germplasm. A significant correlation between geographical and genetic distance was detected in the Central Chilean region for the first time in the species. In addition, significant ecological influence in genetic distance has been detected for one of the population structure groups (group II) in the Central Chilean region. Finally, the association of the SSR markers with ecogeographical variables was investigated and one marker was found significantly associated with precipitation. These findings have a potential application in cereal breeding.