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Molecular Diversity in some Ghanaian Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata L. (Walp)] Accessions

Otwe, Emmanuel Plas, Agyirifo, Daniel S., Galyuon, Isaac K., Heslop-Harrison, John S
Tropical plant biology 2017 v.10 no.2-3 pp. 57-67
Vigna unguiculata, abiotic stress, alleles, cowpeas, drought tolerance, genetic markers, genetic variation, genotype, grain yield, grains, microsatellite repeats, polymerase chain reaction, seedlings, Ghana
Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata L. (Walp)] is grown mainly for its protein-rich grains and is consumed in various forms in sub-Saharan Africa. Average grain yield in farmers’ fields is generally low due to a number of biotic and abiotic stresses. One hundred and six cowpea accessions from Ghana, which had previously been evaluated for seedling drought tolerance, were used for this study. This paper attempts to use three multi-locus PCR-based molecular markers; simple sequence repeats (SSR), inter-retrotransposon amplified polymorphism (IRAP) and retrotransposon-microsatellite amplified polymorphisms (REMAP), to analyse genetic diversity in the cowpea accessions. Analysis of the polymorphic bands data indicated that 101 alleles were amplified among 121 cowpea genotypes (83.4%) from 16 SSR primer pairs out of a total of 30 SSR primer pairs. Likewisely, a total of 66 (54.5%) polymorphic bands were obtained from IRAP and a total of 114 (94.2%) highly polymorphic bands obtained from REMAP analysis. The outcome indicated the highly polymorphic nature of the DNA markers, as small groups of these molecular markers were found to be able to identify each of the accessions used. Microsatellite markers (SSRs) and retrotransposon-based markers, like IRAP and REMAP, were found to be highly polymorphic and informative, suggesting that genomic fingerprinting has a major role in characterizing populations.