Genetic Diversity and Population Structure Analyses of Wild Relatives and Cultivated Cowpea ( Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) from Senegal Using Simple Sequence Repeat Markers uri icon


  • Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata(L.)) is an important crop for food security in Senegal; therefore, understanding the genetic diversity of local germplasm is relevant for crop improvement and genetic maintenance in the era of climate change. For this purpose, 15 microsatellite markers were used to estimate the genetic diversity of Senegalese cowpea germplasm, including 671 accessions grown in eight regions and 66 wild relatives and intermediate forms (weedy). For the cultivated, the main expected heterozygosity (mHe) ranged between 0.317 (Fatick) and 0.439 (South). A narrow genetic variation between accessions from the different regions was observed with genetic similarity ranging from 0.861 to 0.965 and genetic differentiation indices (Fst) between 0.018 and 0.100. The accessions from southern Senegal (Kedougou, Sedhiou, and Kolda regions) are more diverse than the others. However, the accessions from the North (Saint-Louis) are genetically different from other regions. The diversity analysis in wild relatives from Senegal, which had never been performed before, revealed that the wild/weedy forms remain more diverse than the cultivated with genetic diversity values (He) of 0.389 and 0.480, respectively. STRUCTURE software divided the Senegalese germplasm into five subpopulations. Three of them (i, ii, and iii) included only cultivated accessions from several regions, one (v) mainly from Saint-Louis, and one (iv) the wild/weedy with some cultivated accessions. Our results support the hypothesis thatVigna unguiculatavar.spontaneais the wild progenitor of cowpea. The accessions from the South, the northern recession accessions, and the wild/weedy could serve as sources of new genes for the genetic improvement of cowpea in Senegal.

publication date

  • 2021
  • 2020