Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 4;13(1):14509. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-41583-7.
Genetic diversity amongst genotypes of several Napier grass collections was analyzed and compared with the diversity in a set of open pollinated progeny plants. A total of 114,881 SNP and 46,293 SilicoDArT genome-wide markers were generated on 574 Napier grass genotypes. Of these, 86% of the SNP and 66% of the SilicoDArT markers were mapped onto the fourteen chromosomes of the Napier grass genome. For genetic diversity analysis, a subset of highly polymorphic and informative SNP markers was filtered using genomic position information, a maximum of 10% missing values, a minimum minor allele frequency of 5%, and a maximum linkage-disequilibrium value of 0.5. Extensive genetic variation, with an average Nei’s genetic distance value of 0.23, was identified in the material. The genotypes clustered into three major and eleven sub-clusters with high levels of genetic variation contained both within (54%) and between (46%) clusters. However, we found that there was low to moderate genetic differentiation among the collections and that some overlap and redundancy occurred between collections. The progeny plants were genetically diverse and divergent from the germplasm collections, with an average FST value of 0.08. We also reported QTL regions associated with forage biomass yield based on field phenotype data measured on a subset of the Napier grass collections. The findings of this study offer useful information for Napier grass breeding strategies, enhancement of genetic diversity, and provide a guide for the management and conservation of the collections.