Evaluation of genetic diversity in some Amaranthus spp. using morphological and Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA(RAPD) analysis
Amaranth, is an annual plant used as leafy vegetables, grains and ornamentals. It is a plant with a wide range of variability. Ten Amaranth genotypes were selected based on their morphological features and were evaluated over two seasons in 2016 at the Teaching and Research Farms, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, (FUNAAB), while the molecular analyses were carried out at the Laboratory of the Biotechnology Centre, FUNAAB. DNA extracted from young amaranth leaves were amplified using four Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers (OPA-02, OPA-10, OPB-11 and OPB-12). Data collected were subjected to statistical analyses. The Analysis of Variance revealed significant variation in the accessions with respect to height at flowering and number of branches only. Heritability estimates ranged from 60 – 94% for petiole length and number of branches, respectively. A significant and negative correlation was observed between number of branches and seed weight (-0.35**). Molecular cluster analysis showed that all the accessions studied shared a similarity at a coefficient of 0.55 and two major clusters were formed at a coefficient of 0.60. For hybridization studies, accessions NGB-96 and NGB/09/09 which were from distant cluster could be used as parents to take advantage of the inherent variability. Other markers such as Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR) could be used to further reveal diversity in the accessions.