Worldwide genotyping of castor bean germplasm (Ricinus communis L.) using AFLPs and SSRs

Gerard Allan, Amber Williams, Pablo D. Rabinowicz, Agnes P. Chan, Jacques Ravel, Paul Keim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Worldwide genetic diversity in 200 individuals comprising 41 castor bean accessions was assessed using amplified fragment polymorphisms (AFLPs) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs). We found that, despite surveying five continents and 35 countries, genetic diversity in castor bean germplasm is relatively low (overall H e = 0.126 for AFLPs and 0.188 for SSRs) compared to estimates of genetic diversity in other plant species. Our data also show no geographic structuring of genotypes across continents or countries within continents. An assessment of the congruence between AFLP and SSRs indicates a low correlation (R 2 = 0.19) between the two data sets, but each marker class nonetheless shows similar patterns of low-genetic diversity and a lack of geographic structure. Our data do suggest that SSRs yield a higher percentage of polymorphic loci, higher heterozyosity and a greater range of genetic distances, and are therefore more informative than are AFLPs on a locus-by-locus basis. Based on comparisons with numerous other plant species, we suggest that the lower genetic variation in this worldwide collection may be due to one or more factors including: sampling strategies that have not captured the full extent of genetic variation in the species; artifactual variation due to long-term germplasm storage and seed regeneration; or intense selection followed by domestic cultivation of a limited number of castor bean genotypes, which are widely propagated for their horticultural and agro-economic value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-378
Number of pages14
JournalGenetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Amplified fragment length polymorphisms
  • Ricinus communis
  • Simple sequence repeats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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