This study examined the genetic diversity in 20 rice landrace populations from parts of traditional farming areas of the Indian Himalayas using 11 mapped simple sequence repeats (SSR) loci. Twenty-four individuals sampled from each of the 20 landraces (480 individuals), which were collected from farmers from Northwest to Northeast Himalaya, showed that all landraces showed within population variation and none were homogeneous. The number of polymorphic loci in a landrace population ranged from 5 to 11. A total of 71 alleles were recorded of which 58 were common and 13 were rare. Of the 71 alleles, 46 were common to both Northwest and Northeast regions, whereas 9 were unique to the former and 16 were unique to the latter. The mean number of alleles per locus was 6.45 and for landrace populations from Northwest and Northeast regions were 5.0 and 5.64, respectively. Population differentiation, as shown by a high FST value (0.61), was greater for Northeast populations. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) dendrogram classified the populations into three major clusters: cluster I comprised seven populations from the Northwest region, cluster II comprised seven populations from the Northeast region and cluster III comprised populations from both regions. Investigating the population genetic structure can help monitor change in diversity over time and space, and also help devise a rational plan for management of crop landraces on-farm under farmer management.
Via Dorian Q Fuller