Wild sorghum from different eco-geographic regions of Kenya display a mixed mating system
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Knowledge of mating systems is required in order to understand the genetic composition and evolutionary potential of plant populations. Outcrossing in a population may co-vary with the ecological and historical factors influencing it. However, literature on the outcrossing rate is limited in terms of wild sorghum species coverage and eco-geographic reference. This study investigated the outcrossing rates in wild sorghum populations from different ecological conditions of Kenya. Twelve wild sorghum populations were collected in four sorghum growing regions. Twenty-four individuals per population were genotyped using six polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers to compute their indirect equilibrium estimates of outcrossing rate as well as population structure. In addition, the 12 populations were planted in a field in a randomised block design with five replications. Their progeny (250 individuals per population) were genotyped with the six SSR markers to estimate multi-locus outcrossing rates. Equilibrium estimates of outcrossing rates ranged from 7.0 to 75.0%, while multi-locus outcrossing rates (t (m)) ranged from 8.9 to 70.0% with a mean of 49.7%, indicating that wild sorghum exhibits a mixed mating system. The wide range of estimated outcrossing rates in wild sorghum populations indicate that environmental conditions may exist under which fitness is favoured by outcrossing and others under which selfing is more advantageous. The genetic structure of the populations studied is concordant with that expected for a species displaying mixed mating system.
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