Ibrahim Bio Yerima AR, Issoufou KA, Adje CA, Mamadou A, Oselebe H, Gueye MC, Billot C and Achigan-Dako EG (2021) Genome-Wide Scanning Enabled SNP Discovery, Linkage Disequilibrium Patterns and Population Structure in a Panel of Fonio (Digitaria exilis [Kippist] Stapf) Germplasm. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 5:699549. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.699549
White fonio (Digitaria exilis) is a staple food for millions of people in arid and semi-arid areas of West Africa. Knowledge about nutritional and health benefits, insights into morphological diversity, and the recent development of genomic resources call for a better understanding of the genetic structure of the extant germplasm gathered throughout the region in order to set up a robust breeding program. We assessed the genetic diversity and population structure of 259 fonio individuals collected from six countries from West Africa (Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger) in this study using 688 putative out of 21,324 DArTseq-derived SNP markers. Due to the inbreeding and small population size, the results revealed a substantial level of genetic variability. Furthermore, two clusters were found irrespective of the geographic origins of accessions. Moreover, the high level of linkage disequilibrium (LD) between loci observed resulted from the mating system of the crop, which is often associated with a low recombination rate. These findings fill the gaps about the molecular diversity and genetic structure of the white fonio germplasm in West Africa. This was required for the application of genomic tools that can potentially speed up the genetic gain in fonio millet breeding for complex traits such as yield, and other nutrient contents.
Keywords : Digitaria exilis, staple food, genotyping by sequencing, genetic diversity, population structure, linkage disequilibrium patterns