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Front Plant Sci. 2016 Aug 17;7:1222. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01222. eCollection 2016.

Elevated Genetic Diversity in an F2:6 Population of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) Developed through an Inter-ecotype Cross.

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Departement de Production, Protection et Biotechnologies Vegetales, Agronomic and Veterinary Institute Hassan II Rabat, Morocco.
Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Brigham Young University Provo, UT, USA.
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark.


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a seed crop of the Andean highlands and Araucanian coastal regions of South America that has recently expanded in use and production beyond its native range. This is largely due to its superb nutritional value, consisting of protein that is rich in essential amino acids along with vitamins and minerals. Quinoa also presents a remarkable degree of tolerance to saline conditions, drought, and frost. The present study involved 72 F2:6 recombinant-inbred lines and parents developed through hybridization between highland (0654) and coastal (NL-6) germplasm groups. The purpose was to characterize the quinoa germplasm developed, to assess the discriminating potential of 21 agro-morpho-phenological traits, and to evaluate the extent of genetic variability recovered through selfing. A vast amount of genetic variation was detected among the 72 lines evaluated for quantitative and qualitative traits. Impressive transgressive segregation was measured for seed yield (22.42 g/plant), while plant height and maturity had higher heritabilities (73 and 89%, respectively). Other notable characters segregating in the population included panicle and stem color, panicle form, and resistance to downy mildew. In the Principal Component analysis, the first axis explained 74% of the total variation and was correlated to plant height, panicle size, stem diameter, biomass, mildew reaction, maturation, and seed yield; those traits are relevant discriminatory characters. Yield correlated positively with panicle length and biomass. Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Mean-based cluster analysis identified three groups: one consisting of late, mildew-resistant, high-yielding lines; one having semi-late lines with intermediate yield and mildew susceptibility; and a third cluster consisting of early to semi-late accessions with low yield and mildew susceptibility. This study highlighted the extended diversity regenerated among the 72 accessions and helped to identify potentially adapted quinoa genotypes for production in the Moroccan coastal environment.


Chenopodium; Peronospora variabilis; breeding; downy mildew resistance; genetic diversity; quinoa

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