|Title||Genetic diversity and genetic structure of Persian walnut (Juglans regia) accessions from 14 European, African, and Asian countries using SSR markers|
|Author(s)||Ebrahimi, Aziz; Zarei, Abdolkarim; Lawson, Shaneka; Woeste, Keith E.; Smulders, M.J.M.|
|Source||Tree Genetics and Genomes 12 (2016)6. - ISSN 1614-2942|
|Department(s)||WUR PB Biodiversiteit en Genetische Variatie|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Microsatellite - Middle East - Persian walnut - Private allele|
Persian walnut (Juglans regia L.) is the world’s most widely grown nut crop, but large-scale assessments and comparisons of the genetic diversity of the crop are notably lacking. To guide the conservation and utilization of Persian walnut genetic resources, genotypes (n = 189) from 25 different regions in 14 countries on three continents were sampled to investigate their genetic relationships and diversity using ten microsatellite (SSR) loci. The SSRs amplified from 3 to 25 alleles per locus, with a mean value of 11.5 alleles per locus. The mean values of observed and expected heterozygosity were 0.62 and 0.73, respectively. Based on Nei’s genetic identity, accessions from Bratislava (Slovakia) and Antalya (Turkey) showed the lowest similarity (0.36), while accessions from Algeria and Tunisia as well as accessions from Debrecen (Hungary) and Trnava (Slovakia) had the highest similarity (0.97). Two populations from Iran (Alborz and Ardabil) had the highest number of private alleles (7 and 5), but they were quite different as they also had the lowest genetic identity when compared to the remaining populations as well as to each other. Although overall differentiation among regions was relatively low (Fst = 0.07), cluster analysis grouped accessions generally but not completely according to geography. STRUCTURE software confirmed these results and divided the accessions into two main groups, separating accessions collected from Europe and North Africa from those from Greece and the Near East. Results indicate the presence of a likely center of diversity for Persian walnut in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. They also provide information that can be used to devise conservation actions. Notably, the genetic diversity of threatened populations from two regions in Iran should be conserved.