Genetic characterization of Moroccan and the exotic bread wheat cultivars using functional and random DNA markers linked to the agronomic traits for genomics-assisted improvement
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Genetic characterization, diversity analysis and estimate of the genetic relationship among varieties using functional and random DNA markers linked to agronomic traits can provide relevant guidelines in selecting parents and designing new breeding strategies for marker-assisted wheat cultivar improvement. Here, we characterize 20 Moroccan and 19 exotic bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars using 47 functional and 7 linked random DNA markers associated with 21 loci of the most important traits for wheat breeding. The functional marker analysis revealed that 35, 45, and 10 % of the Moroccan cultivars, respectively have the rust resistance genes (Lr34/Yr18/ Pm38), dwarfing genes (Rht1b or Rht2b alleles) and the leaf rust resistance gene (Lr68). The marker alleles for genes Lr37/Yr17/Sr38, Sr24 and Yr36 were present only in the exotic cultivars and absent in Moroccan cultivars. 25 % of cultivars had 1BL.1RS translocation. 70 % of the wheat cultivars had Ppo-D1a and Ppo-A1b associated with low polyphenol oxidase activity. 10 % of cultivars showed presence of a random DNA marker allele (175 bp) linked to Hessian fly resistance gene H22. The majority of the Moroccan cultivars were carrying alleles that impart good bread making quality. Neighbor joining (NJ) and principal coordinate analysis based on the marker data revealed a clear differentiation between elite Moroccan and exotic wheat cultivars. The results of this study are useful for selecting suitable parents for making targeted crosses in marker-assisted wheat breeding and enhancing genetic diversity in the wheat cultivars.