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Revelation of genetic diversity and structure of wild Elymus excelsus (Poaceae: Triticeae) collection from western China by SSR markers

Cite this dataset

Xiong, Yan Li (2020). Revelation of genetic diversity and structure of wild Elymus excelsus (Poaceae: Triticeae) collection from western China by SSR markers [Dataset]. Dryad.


Hosting unique and important plant germplasms, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP), as the third pole of the world, and Xinjiang, located in the centre of the Eurasian continent, are major distribution areas of perennial Triticeae grasses, especially the widespread Elymus species. Elymus excelsus Turcz. ex Griseb, a perennial forage grass with strong tolerance to environmental stresses, such as drought, cold and soil impoverishment, can be appropriately used for grassland establishment due to its high seed production. To provide basic information for collection, breeding strategies and utilization of E. excelsus germplasm, microsatellite markers (SSR) were employed in the present study to determine the genetic variation and population structure of 25 wild accessions of E. excelsus from Xinjiang (XJC) and the QTP, including Sichuan (SCC) and Gansu (GSC) of western China. Based on the 159 polymorphic bands amplified by 35 primer pairs developed from three related species, the average values of the polymorphic information content (PIC), marker index (MI), resolving power (Rp), Nei’s genetic diversity (H) and Shannon’s diversity index (I) of each pair of primers were 0.289, 1.348, 1.897, 0.301 and 0.459, respectively, validating that these SSR markers can also be used for the evaluation of genetic diversity of E. excelsus germplasms, and demonstrating the superior versatility of EST-SSR vs. G-SSR. We found a relatively moderate differentiation (Fst = 0.151) among the XJC, SCC and GSC geo-groups, and it is worth noting that, the intra-group genetic diversity of the SCC group (He = 0.197) was greater than that of the GSC (He = 0.176) and XJC (He = 0.148) groups. Both the Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic (UPGMA) clustering and principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) divided the 25 accessions into three groups, whereas the Bayesian STRUCTURE analysis suggested that E. excelsus accessions fell into four main clusters. Besides, this study suggested that geographical distance and environmental variables (annual mean precipitation and average precipitation in growing seasons), especially for QTP accessions, should be combined to explain the population genetic differentiation among the divergent geographical regions. These data provided comprehensive information about these valuable E. excelsus germplasm resources for the protection and collection of germplasms and for breeding strategies in areas of Xinjiang and QTP in western China.

Usage notes

A microsatellite data including EST-SSRs and G-SSRs


Key Laboratory of Superior Forage Germplasm in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, Award: 2017-ZJ-Y12

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 3177131276

Modern Agro-industry Technology Research System, Award: CARS-34