Genetic variability of cultivated cowpea in Benin assessed by random amplified polymorphic DNA
AbstractCharacterization of genetic diversity among cultivated cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] varieties is important to optimize the use of available genetic resources by farmers, local communities, researchers
and breeders. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were used to evaluate the genetic diversity in 70 cowpea accessions collected throughout Benin. Nine random primers were screened on
24 accessions to assess their ability to reveal polymorphisms in cowpea and four of them were selected for use in characterizing the total sample. A total of 32 amplified bands were generated by the four
primers. The number of loci detected varied from 5 to 11. RAPD profiles were analysed and amplified polymorphic DNA fragments were used to construct a dendrogram, clustering the accessions into nine
groups at a similarity index of 71% based on the Unweighted Pair-Group Method using Arithmetic Averages. The genetic diversity among the cowpea cultivars investigated was large and the RAPD
proved to be a useful technique to characterise it. Based on the molecular variance, the fixation index suggests a large differentiation of cowpea cultivars in Benin.