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The impact of sample selection strategies on genetic diversity and representativeness in germplasm bank collections

Jorge Franco-Duran, José Crossa, Jiafa Chen, Sarah Jane Hearne
BMC plant biology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 520
corn, cost effectiveness, genetic variation, germplasm, landraces, multidimensional scaling, population size, sample size
BACKGROUND: Germplasm banks maintain collections representing the most comprehensive catalogue of native genetic diversity available for crop improvement. Users of germplasm banks are interested in a fixed number of samples representing as broadly as possible the diversity present in the wider collection. A relevant question is whether it is necessary to develop completely independent germplasm samples or it is possible to select nested sets from a pre-defined core set panel not from the whole collection. We used data from 15,384, maize landraces stored in the CIMMYT germplasm bank to study the impact on 8 diversity criteria and the sample representativeness of: (1) two core selection strategies, a statistical sampling (DM), or a numerical maximization method (CH); (2) selecting samples of varying sizes; and (3) selecting samples of different sizes independently of each other or in a nested manner. RESULTS: Sample sizes greater than 10% of the whole population size retained more than 75% of the polymorphic markers for all selection strategies and types of sample; lower sample sizes showed more variability (instability) among repetitions; the strongest effect of sample size was observed on the CH-independent combination. Independent and nested samples showed similar performance for all the criteria for the DM method, but there were differences between them for the CH method. The DM method achieved better approximations to the known values in the population than the CH method; 2-d multidimensional scaling plots of the collection and samples highlighted tendency of sample selection towards the extremes of diversity in the CH method, compared with sampling more representative of the overall genotypic distribution of diversity under the DM method. CONCLUSIONS: The use of core subsets of size greater than or equal to 10% of the whole collection satisfied well the requirement of representativeness and diversity. Nested samples showed similar diversity and representativeness characteristics as independent samples offering a cost effective method of sample definition for germplasm banks. For most criteria assessed the DM method achieved better approximations to the known values in the whole population than the CH method, that is, it generated more statistically representative samples from collections.