DNA markers and FCSS analyses shed light on the genetic diversity and reproductive strategy of Jatropha curcas L

Daria Gigliola Ambrosi, Giulio Galla, Marina Purelli, Tommaso Barbi, Andrea Fabbri, Sergio Lucretti, Timothy Francis Sharbel, Gianni Barcaccia

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Jatropha curcas L. (2n = 2x = 22) is becoming a popular non-food oleaginous crop in several developed countries due to its proposed value in the biopharmaceutical industry. Despite the potentials of its oil-rich seeds as a renewable source of biodiesel and an interest in large-scale cultivation, relatively little is known with respect to plant reproduction strategies and population dynamics. Here, genomic DNA markers and FCSS analyses were performed to gain insights into ploidy variation and heterozygosity levels of multiple accessions, and genomic relationships among commercial varieties of Jatropha grown in different geographical areas. The determination of ploidy and the differentiation of either pseudogamous or autonomous apomixis from sexuality were based on the seed DNA contents of embryo and endosperm. The presence of only a high 2C embryo peak and a smaller 3C endosperm peak (ratio 2:3) is consistent with an obligate sexual reproductive system. Because of the lack of either 4C or 5C endosperm DNA estimates, the occurrence of gametophytic apomixis seems unlikely in this species but adventitious embryony cannot be ruled out. The investigation of genetic variation within and between cultivated populations was carried out using dominant RAPD and Inter-SSR markers, and codominant SSR markers. Nei's genetic diversity, corresponding to the expected heterozygosity, was equal to He= 0.3491 and the fixation index as low as Fst= 0.2042. The main finding is that seeds commercialized worldwide include a few closely related genotypes, which are not representative of the original Mexican gene pool, revealing high degrees of homozygosity for single varieties and very low genetic diversity between varieties. © 2010 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810 - 836
Number of pages27
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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