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Characterization of a world collection of Agropyron cristatum accessions

Copete, Alejandro, Moreno, Roberto, Cabrera, Adoración
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2018 v.65 no.5 pp. 1455-1469
Agropyron cristatum, alleles, breeding programs, capillary electrophoresis, diploidy, field experimentation, genetic variation, geographical distribution, hexaploidy, microsatellite repeats, spikelets, tetraploidy, wheat, East Asia, Iran, Republic of Georgia, Russia, Turkey (country)
The genetic diversity was studied of 115 Agropyron cristatum accessions from 17 countries. Tetraploids were the most common (74.8%), followed by diploid (16.3%) and hexaploid (6.9%). We observed a relation between geographic distribution and ploidy level. The tetraploids, the most widespread, were found from Europe through Russia to East Asia. The diploids appeared over the same general range, except in Turkey, Iran and Georgia where no diploid accessions were found. Hexaploid accessions mainly came from a region comprising the east of Turkey, the north of Iran and Georgia. A selection of 71 accessions, including all three ploidy levels, were analyzed by capillary electrophoresis using six wheat simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. All markers presented high levels of polymorphism, generating 166 different alleles ranging in size between 84 and 256 bp. Based on polymorphic information content values obtained (0.579–0.968), all the SSRs were classified as informative markers (values > 0.5). According to the dendrogram generated, all the A. cristatum accessions were distinctly classified. Diploid, tetraploid and hexaploid accessions are not clearly differentiated from each other on the basis of SSR markers. A field experiment was conducted to morphologically characterize 18 accessions including the three ploidy levels. Significant differences were found between the accessions in spike length, spike width and number of spikelets per spike. All the cytological, molecular, and morphological data demonstrate the high genetic diversity present in A. cristatum, making it a valuable resource for future breeding programs.