Bulk genetic characterization of Ghanaian maize landraces using microsatellite markers
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Maize (Zea mays L) was first introduced into Ghana over five centuries ago and remains the most important cereal staple, grown in all agro-ecologies across the country. Yield from farmers' fields are low, which is attributed in part to farmer's preferences and/or reliance on local landraces for cultivation. Efforts are underway to improve some of these landraces for improved productivity. Seeds of maize landraces cultivated in all agro-ecologies were collected for genetic characterization using a bulked fingerprinting technique and 20 SSR markers. In all, 20 populations of 15 plants each from Ghana and 4 control populations from Latin America were characterized. The cluster analysis grouped the 20 landraces into two major groups corresponding to the vegetation/climatic conditions of the north and south of the country. Genotypes from Ashanti, which is centrally located, fell into both major clusters, which suggest its importance in maize seed distribution in Ghana and also the diverse climate/vegetation. A Structure analyses grouped the genotypes into two major clusters similar to the UPGMA cluster, and populations were not fully distinct according to F statistics. The results suggest that breeders should make performance data available to seed dealers for better productivity.
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