Molecular Breeding

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 271–290 | Cite as

Population structure and long-range linkage disequilibrium in a durum wheat elite collection

  • Marco Maccaferri
  • Maria  Corinna Sanguineti
  • Enrico Noli
  • Roberto Tuberosa


A collection of 134 durum wheat accessions, mainly including cultivars (cvs.) representative of the major gene pools, was assembled and characterized with 70 SSRs for genetic diversity and level of long-range linkage disequilibrium (LD). Results of both a distance-based and a model-based (Bayesian) cluster analysis evidenced the presence of a structured diversity. In the model-based analysis, six to eight main distinct subpopulations were identified based on the molecular data. Only a relatively small portion (20%) of the molecular variation was accounted for by the geographical origin of the accessions. Major differences were detected between the North American and the Mediterranean cvs., while a considerable overlap characterized the cvs. from CIMMYT-ICARDA and Italy. The North American cvs. showed the highest within group mean genetic similarity (GSm = 0.68). French cvs. revealed sizeable similarities with both the North American as well as the Italian and CIMMYT-ICARDA pools. Considering the germplasm as a whole, high levels of LD were found both at locus pairs with an intrachromosomal distance <50 cM as well as at those with distances more than 50 cM and independent (86, 52 and 54% of SSR pairs at p < 0.01, respectively). After re-evaluating LD within each of the three main subgroups identified through the analysis of the germplasm structure, the LD level remained high for tightly to moderately linked locus pairs (<20 cM apart), but was greatly reduced in the loosely linked (more than 50 cM apart) and independent locus pairs. The implications of these findings as to the possibility of using association mapping for gene/QTL discovery in durum wheat are discussed.


Durum wheat Genetic distance Germplasm Linkage disequilibrium SSR Triticum durum Desf 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Maccaferri
    • 1
  • Maria  Corinna Sanguineti
    • 1
  • Enrico Noli
    • 1
  • Roberto Tuberosa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agroenvironmental Science and TechnologyUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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