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Genetic diversity and relationships among accessions of five crested wheatgrass species (Poaceae: Agropyron) based on gliadin analysis

Author(s): S.Y. Chen, X. Ma, X.Q. Zhang, L.K. Huang and J.N. Zhou

Agropyron Gaertn. is the most important genus in Triticeae (Poaceae), which includes many forage grasses with high economic value. The genetic diversity and relationships of 36 accessions from five crested wheatgrass species were analyzed by gliadin markers. A total of 54 product bands were detected after acid polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (A-PAGE), of which 100% were polymorphic. The genetic similarity coefficient based on Nei-Li’s method ranged from 0.065 to 0.755 with an average of 0.451. The Shannon diversity information index showed that there was a high level of genetic diversity among the accessions. An unweighted pair group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA) dendrogram was constructed based on the Nei-Li’s genetic similarity coefficients, which showed the phylogenetic relationships among accessions of different species. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that the proportion of variance explained by inter- and intraspecific variance was 9.34 and 90.66%, respectively, which revealed that the genetic variations within species were higher than the variations among species. Based on pairwise genetic distances (ΦST) among species, the cluster analysis indicated that A. mongolicum had a low-affinity relationship with other species, while A. fragile showed a close relationship with A. cristatum ssp pectinatum. Finally, the implications of the results for the taxonomy of Agropyron were discussed.