Genomic and phenotypic characterization of finger millet indicates a complex diversification history

Jon Bančič, Damaris A Odeny, Henry F Ojulong, Samuel M Josiah, Jaap Buntjer, R Chris Gaynor, Stephen P Hoad, Gregor Gorjanc, Ian K Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Advances in sequencing technologies mean that insights into crop diversification can now be explored in crops beyond major staples. We use a genome assembly of finger millet, an allotetraploid orphan crop, to analyze DArTseq single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the whole and sub-genome level. A set of 8778 SNPs and 13 agronomic traits was used to characterize a diverse panel of 423 landraces from Africa and Asia. Through principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis of principal components, four distinct groups of accessions were identified that coincided with the primary geographic regions of finger millet cultivation. Notably, East Africa, presumed to be the crop's origin, exhibited the lowest genetic diversity. The PCA of phenotypic data also revealed geographic differentiation, albeit with differing relationships among geographic areas than indicated with genomic data. Further exploration of the sub-genomes A and B using neighbor-joining trees revealed distinct features that provide supporting evidence for the complex evolutionary history of finger millet. Although genome-wide association study found only a limited number of significant marker-trait associations, a clustering approach based on the distribution of marker effects obtained from a ridge regression genomic model was employed to investigate trait complexity. This analysis uncovered two distinct clusters. Overall, the findings suggest that finger millet has undergone complex and context-specific diversification, indicative of a lengthy domestication history. These analyses provide insights for the future development of finger millet.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20392
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalThe Plant Genome
Early online date20 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2023


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