Main content area

Genetic structure and differentiation among oregano [Origanum vulgare subsp. glandulosum (Desf.) Ietswaart] provenances from North Africa: bioinformatic approaches cause systematic bias

Mechergui, Kaouther, Jaouadi, Wahbi, Bekele, Wubishet A., Khouja, Mohamed Larbi, Friedt, Wolfgang
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2017 v.64 no.4 pp. 717-732
Origanum vulgare subsp. glandulosum, alleles, bioinformatics, essential oils, expressed sequence tags, gene flow, gene pool, genetic markers, genetic variation, heterozygosity, indigenous species, loci, microsatellite repeats, oregano, provenance, Italy, Maghreb, Tunisia, United States
Thirteen simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers developed from expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of essential oil glands of Origanum vulgare were previously evaluated. These EST-SSR loci were analyzed to study the genetic diversity and differentiation of Origanum vulgare subsp. glandulosum, an endemic species of Tunisia. The study was performed on five natural populations from the Maghreb regions (North Africa) from northern Tunisia (Sejnane, Krib, Bargou, Zaghouan and Nefza). Two other subspecies of O. vulgare were used as out-group. These are O. vulgare subsp. hirtum (from USA) and O. vulgare subsp. vulgare (from Italy). A total of 60 alleles were detected in the seven populations studied. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 9. This analysis revealed that the unbiased expected heterozygosity (0.327) is higher than the observed heterozygosity (0.242), reflecting a deficit in heterozygosity in the total population. Only the Sejnane population has an excess of heterozygosity. The differentiation between Tunisian populations is highly significant and indicates the presence of a structure between these populations. However, the indexes of genetic differentiation (FST) values are low and vary between 0.048 and 0.115 which indicate the presence of a weak structure. The value of the FST between Nefza and Krib is not significant, reflecting the absence of genetic structure between them. The value of gene flow between these two populations is the most important (27.34), showing a substantial exchange of genes or genomic regions between them. The migration of genes is less important among the other Tunisian populations. Genetic structuring according to the geographical origin of Tunisian populations is low but still exists, which allows concluding the presence of a single complex gene pool.