Genetic diversity and structure of a barley collection predominatly from North African region
The cultivated barley ranks fourth cereal crop in the world. The demand for higher-yielding, nutritious, and better-adapted crop varieties has increased the need to exploit genebanks diversity. Thus, assessing the genetic diversity of barley is essential to determine the genetic relationship between lines and deploy novel alleles in breeding programs. Here, we used 14 polymorphic Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers to assess genetic diversity, genetic relationship, and population structure of 113 barley lines originated from 14 countries, and the majority from Africa. The average alleles per locus of 5.36, Polymorphism Information Content (PIC) of 0.57, and genetic diversity of 0.61 indicate a high degree of genetic variation in this collection. The Analysis of Molecular Variance AMOVA showed genetic variation within countries to be higher (74%) than among countries (26%). The STRUCTURE analysis was consistent with neighbor-joining clustering and principal components analysis, which identified three main subpopulations clustered primarily according to their geographic origin. Growing environments, migration between and within countries might have caused a considerable genetic diversity observed in the North African barley germplasm. The results of this study contribute to the conservation and utilization of these barley germplasm.