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BMC Genet. 2012 Nov 15;13:102. doi: 10.1186/1471-2156-13-102.

Genetic diversity assessment of sesame core collection in China by phenotype and molecular markers and extraction of a mini-core collection.

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Oil Crops Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Oil Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, PR China.



Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is one of the four major oil crops in China. A sesame core collection (CC) was established in China in 2000, but no complete study on its genetic diversity has been carried out at either the phenotypic or molecular level. To provide technical guidance, a theoretical basis for further collection, effective protection, reasonable application, and a complete analysis of sesame genetic resources, a genetic diversity assessment of the sesame CC in China was conducted using phenotypic and molecular data and by extracting a sesame mini-core collection (MC).


Results from a genetic diversity assessment of sesame CC in China were significantly inconsistent at the phenotypic and molecular levels. A Mantel test revealed the insignificant correlation between phenotype and molecular marker information (r = 0.0043, t = 0.1320, P = 0.5525). The Shannon-Weaver diversity index (I) and Nei genetic diversity index (h) were higher (I = 0.9537, h = 0.5490) when calculated using phenotypic data from the CC than when using molecular data (I = 0.3467, h = 0.2218). A mini-core collection (MC) containing 184 accessions was extracted based on both phenotypic and molecular data, with a low mean difference percentage (MD, 1.64%), low variance difference percentage (VD, 22.58%), large variable rate of coefficient of variance (VR, 114.86%), and large coincidence rate of range (CR, 95.76%). For molecular data, the diversity indices and the polymorphism information content (PIC) for the MC were significantly higher than for the CC. Compared to an alternative random sampling strategy, the advantages of capturing genetic diversity and validation by extracting a MC using an advanced maximization strategy were proven.


This study provides a comprehensive characterization of the phenotypic and molecular genetic diversities of the sesame CC in China. A MC was extracted using both phenotypic and molecular data. Low MD% and VD%, and large VR% and CR% suggested that the MC provides a good representation of the genetic diversity of the original CC. The MC was more genetically diverse with higher diversity indices and a higher PIC value than the CC. A MC may aid in reasonably and efficiently selecting materials for sesame breeding and for genotypic biological studies, and may also be used as a population for association mapping in sesame.

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