Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 57, Issue 7, pp 995–1005 | Cite as

Investigation of recent population bottlenecks in Kenyan wild sorghum populations (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench ssp. verticilliflorum (Steud.) De Wet) based on microsatellite diversity and genetic disequilibria

  • M. M. Muraya
  • F. Sagnard
  • H. K. Parzies
Research Article


Identifying populations that have recently suffered a severe reduction in size is particularly important for their conservation as they are likely to suffer an increased risk of genetic erosion. We investigated the presence of recent bottlenecks in two wild sorghum populations from different eco-geographical conditions in Kenya employing 18 microsatellite markers. Microsatellite analysis showed high allelic diversity in the two populations, with a mean of 4.11 and 6.94 alleles per locus in the North-West wild sorghum population (NWWSP) and the South-East wild sorghum population (SEWSP), respectively. The mean observed heterozygosity was 0.34 and 0.56 in NWWSP and SEWSP, respectively. A large long-term effective populations size for both populations was observed assuming either an infinite allele model or a stepwise mutation model. There was no apparent loss of genetic variability for either of the populations. Test of heterozygosity excess indicated that a recent bottleneck in the two populations is highly unlikely. Furthermore, analysis of the allele frequency distribution revealed an L-shaped distribution which would not have been observed in case a recent bottleneck had reduced genetic variability in the two populations. The fact that most loci displayed a significant heterozygosity deficiency could be explained by population subdivision and the mixed mating system exhibited by wild sorghum populations. Furthermore, the possibility of a historical expansion of wild sorghum populations and presence of null alleles could not be ruled out.


Bottleneck Genetic diversity Linkage disequilibrium Microsatellite markers Null allele Sorghum bicolor ssp. verticilliflorum Wild sorghum population 



This study was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Biotechnology and Biodiversity Interface Program (BBI), the Institute of Plant Breeding and Population Genetics at the University of Hohenheim, Germany, and Germany Academic Exchange Service (DAAD: A0523923). We are grateful to Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and Ben Kanyenji who supervised the collection of genetic materials in full compliance with regulations according to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science and Population GeneticsUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant ResearchGaterslebenGermany
  3. 3.CIRAD-UMR Développement et Amélioration des PlantesNairobiKenya
  4. 4.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT-Nairobi)NairobiKenya

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