Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Genetic diversity of Ethiopian Cocoyam (Xanthosoma sagittifolium (L.) Schott) accessions as revealed by morphological traits and SSR markers.

Abstract

Cocoyam (Xanthosoma sagittifolium (L.) Schott) is an exotic species from tropical America that is widely cultivated in Ethiopia for its edible cormels and leaves. There is a dearth of information on the genetic diversity of Ethiopian cocoyam. In order to evaluate and select cocoyam germplasm for breeding and conservation, genetic diversity of 100 Ethiopian cocoyam accessions (65 green- and 35 purple- cocoyam) were analyzed using 29 morphological traits (16 qualitative and 13 quantitative) and 12 SSR loci. Two classes of qualitative traits were observed. ANOVA revealed significant variation in 11 (84.6%) of the 13 studied quantitative traits. The SSR marker analysis showed high genetic diversity. A total of 36 alleles were detected with a range of 2 to 5 (average of 3.273) alleles per locus. The average observed heterozygosity (Ho) and expected heterozygosity (He) values across populations were 0.503 and 0.443, respectively. The analysis of molecular variance showed that the variation among populations, among individuals within populations, and within individuals explained 14%, 18%, and 68% of the total variation, respectively. Cluster analysis grouped the accessions irrespective of the collection sites. A dendrogram based on Nei's standard genetic distance grouped the green cocoyam accessions together while the purple cocoyam accessions occupied a separate position within the dendrogram. Significant variation in quantitative traits and the high level of genetic diversity revealed by the SSR markers suggest that diverse cocoyam accessions, probably with multiple lineage, were introduced multiple times, through multiple routes and probably by multiple agents, an hypothesis that needs futher testing and analyis. The crop, therefore, needs more research efforts commensurate with its economic and social values than it has been accorded thus far. Further study is recommended to clarify the taxonomic status of Ethiopian cocoyam accesions and to trace their evolutionary relationships with Xanthosoma species elsewhere.