Patterns of molecular and phenotypic diversity in pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] from West and Central Africa and their relation to geographical and environmental parameters.
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Background: The distribution area of pearl millet in West and Central Africa (WCA) harbours a wide range of climatic and environmental conditions as well as diverse farmer preferences and pearl millet utilization habits which have the potential to lead to local adaptation and thereby to population structure. The objectives of our research were to (i) assess the geographical distribution of genetic diversity in pearl millet inbreds derived from landraces, (ii) assess the population structure of pearl millet from WCA, and (iii) identify those geographical parameters and environmental factors from the location at which landraces were sampled, as well as those phenotypic traits that may have affected or led to this population structure. Our study was based on a set of 145 inbred lines derived from 122 different pearl millet landraces from WCA.Results: Five sub-groups were detected within the entire germplasm set by STRUCTURE. We observed that the phenotypic traits flowering time, relative response to photoperiod, and panicle length were significantly associated with population structure but not the environmental factors which are expected to influence these traits in natural populations such as latitude, temperature, or precipitation.Conclusions: Our results suggested that for pearl millet natural selection is compared to artificial selection lessimportant in shaping populations
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