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Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Oct;121(6):1151-70. doi: 10.1007/s00122-010-1379-5. Epub 2010 Jun 20.

Population structure and linkage disequilibrium unravelled in tetraploid potato.

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Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Association mapping is considered to be an important alternative strategy for the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) as compared to traditional QTL mapping. A necessary prerequisite for association analysis to succeed is detailed information regarding hidden population structure and the extent of linkage disequilibrium. A collection of 430 tetraploid potato cultivars, comprising two association panels, has been analysed with 41 AFLP(®) and 53 SSR primer combinations yielding 3364 AFLP fragments and 653 microsatellite alleles, respectively. Polymorphism information content values and detected number of alleles for the SSRs studied illustrate that commercial potato germplasm seems to be equally diverse as Latin American landrace material. Genome-wide linkage disequilibrium (LD)-reported for the first time for tetraploid potato-was observed up to approximately 5 cM using r (2) higher than 0.1 as a criterion for significant LD. Within-group LD, however, stretched on average twice as far when compared to overall LD. A Bayesian approach, a distance-based hierarchical clustering approach as well as principal coordinate analysis were adopted to enquire into population structure. Groups differing in year of market release and market segment (starch, processing industry and fresh consumption) were repeatedly detected. The observation of LD up to 5 cM is promising because the required marker density is not likely to disable the possibilities for association mapping research in tetraploid potato. Population structure appeared to be weak, but strong enough to demand careful modelling of genetic relationships in subsequent marker-trait association analyses. There seems to be a good chance that linkage-based marker-trait associations can be identified at moderate marker densities.

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