|RODRIGUEZ-BONILLA, LORRAINE - University Of Puerto Rico|
|MONTERO-ROJAS, MILLY - University Of Puerto Rico|
|BIRD-PICO, FERNANDO - University Of Puerto Rico|
|LUCIANO-ROSARIO, DIANIRIS - University Of Puerto Rico|
|SIRITUNGA, DIMUTH - University Of Puerto Rico|
Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/3/2014
Publication Date: 12/31/2014
Citation: Rodriguez-Bonilla, L., Cuevas, H.E., Montero-Rojas, M., Bird-Pico, F., Luciano-Rosario, D., Siritunga, D. 2014. Assessment of genetic diversity of sweet potato in Puerto Rico. PLoS One. 9(12):e116184. Available: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0116184.
Interpretive Summary: Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is an important food crop worldwide, which has not been genetically characterized for its conservation and adequate use in agriculture. In Puerto Rico, the genetic diversity of sweet potato has been poorly understood, although it has been part of the diet since Pre-Columbian time. Therefore, 137 landraces from different localities around Puerto Rico, together with 40 reference samples from germplasm collections and commercial varieties, were subjected to a genetic diversity analysis using 23 SSR-markers. The population structure analysis grouped PR landraces in five groups clearly separated from reference samples. The high levels of genetic diversity found in sweet potato in Puerto Rico suggest the region may be considered an important center of germplasm diversity.
Technical Abstract: Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is the seventh most important food crop due to its distinct advantages, such as adaptability to different environmental conditions and high nutritional value. Assessing the genetic diversity of this important crop is necessary due to the constant increase of demand for food and the need for conservation of agricultural and genetic resources. In Puerto Rico (PR), the genetic diversity of sweet potato has been poorly understood, although it has been part of the diet since Pre-Columbian time. Thus, 137 landraces from different localities around PR were collected and subjected to a genetic diversity analysis using 23 SSR-markers. In addition, 8 accessions from a collection grown in Gurabo, PR at the Agricultural Experimental Station (GAES), 10 US commercial cultivars and 12 Puerto Rican accessions from the USDA repository collection were included in this assessment. The results of the analysis of the 23 loci showed 255 alleles in the 167 samples. Observed heterozygosity was high across populations (0.71) while measurements of total heterozygosity revealed a large genetic diversity throughout the population and within populations. UPGMA clustering method revealed two main clusters. Cluster 1 contained 12 PR accessions from the USDA repository collection, while cluster 2 consisted of PR landraces, US commercial cultivars and the PR accessions from GAES. Population structure analysis grouped PR landraces in five groups including four US commercial cultivars. Our study shows the presence of a high level of genetic diversity of sweet potato across PR which can be related to the genetic makeup of sweet potato, human intervention and out-crossing nature of the plant. The history of domestication and dispersal of sweet potato in the Caribbean and the high levels of genetic diversity found through this study makes sweet potato an invaluable resource that needs to be protected and further studied.