Genetic diversity and structure of Ethiopian, Yemen and Brazilian Coffea arabica L. accessions using microsatellites markers

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Genetic diversity among 115 coffee accessions from the Coffea Germplasm Collection of IAC was assessed using SSR markers. The germplasm represents 73 accessions of Coffea arabica derived from spontaneous and subspontaneous plants in Ethiopia and Eritrea, species center of origin and diversity, 13 commercial cultivars of C. arabica developed by the Breeding Program of IAC, 1 accession of C. arabica cv. ‘Geisha’, 13 accessions of C. arabica from Yemen, 5 accessions of C. eugenioides, 4 accessions of C. racemosa and 6 accessions of C. canephora. Genetic analysis was performed using average number of alleles per locus (A), proportion of polymorphic loci (P), Shannon's genetic index (H′ and GST) and clustering analysis. All evaluated species were distinguished by a cluster analysis based on Jaccard's coefficient. Differentiation between the cultivated plants of C. arabica and accessions derived from spontaneous and subspontaneous plants was observed. Spontaneous and subspontaneous accessions from Ethiopia were separated according to the geographical origin: east and west of the Great Rift Valley. Cultivated plants showed a low genetic diversity with a division in two groups: accessions from Yemen (H′=0,028) and Brazilian commercial cultivars (H′=0,030). The results agreed with previously reported narrow genetic basis of cultivated plants of C. arabica and supported the hypotheses about domestication of the species. This study also showed a significant genetic diversity among accessions from Ethiopia and Eritrea present in the Germplasm Collection of IAC. This diversity is specially observed in accessions from Sidamo (H′=0,143), Kaffa (H′=0,142) and Illubabor (H′=0,147) indicating their importance as source of genetic variability for coffee breeding programs.

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