Unlocking Genetic Diversity and Germplasm Characterization with Molecular Markers: Strategies for Crop Improvement

Aniket Bunjkar *

Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, 144411, India.

Puneet Walia

Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, 144411, India.

Sanjeet Singh Sandal

Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, 144411, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Molecular markers have emerged as the most useful tools in assessment of genetic diversity and characterizing germplasm, for crop improvement. This review paper comprehensively analyzes the applications of molecular markers in diversity analysis and germplasm characterization. It underscores the significance of genetic diversity as the bedrock for plant breeding programs, enabling the development of improved varieties with desirable attributes such as higher yields, stress tolerance, and enhanced nutritional profiles. The paper provides an overview of various types of molecular markers, including hybridization-based markers (e.g., RFLPs) and PCR-based markers (e.g., RAPDs, AFLPs, SSRs, and SNPs). It discusses marker selection strategies, emphasizing the consideration of factors like polymorphism, informativeness, and the potential for multiplexing and high-throughput genotyping. Diversity analysis techniques, including principal component analysis (PCA), cluster analysis methods (UPGMA and Neighbor-Joining), and population structure analysis (model-based approaches like STRUCTURE), are detailed. These methods enable the assessment of genetic relationships, identification of subpopulations, and selection of diverse parents based on molecular marker data. The review further explores the applications of molecular markers in germplasm management, conservation, and utilization. It discusses the role of markers in targeted introgression of desirable traits from diverse sources, as well as the integration of genotypic and phenotypic data for association mapping, genomic prediction, and selection. Additionally, the paper addresses emerging technologies, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) and the integration of molecular markers with other omics data. It also highlights the practical applications and impact of molecular markers in crop improvement programs, including marker-assisted selection (MAS), genomic selection, and the development of genetically modified crops. Finally, the review outlines challenges and future perspectives, including limitations0 of current technologies, the potential of emerging techniques like NGS, and the integration of molecular markers with other omics approaches for a comprehensive understanding of complex traits.

Keywords: Molecular markers, genetic diversity, germplasm characterization, principal component analysis, cluster analysis, population structure


How to Cite

Bunjkar , A., Walia , P., & Sandal , S. S. (2024). Unlocking Genetic Diversity and Germplasm Characterization with Molecular Markers: Strategies for Crop Improvement. Journal of Advances in Biology & Biotechnology, 27(6), 160–173. https://doi.org/10.9734/jabb/2024/v27i6873

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