Assessment of genetic diversity in cultivars of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) detected by SSR polymorphisms

Julie George, Mark P. Dobrowolski, Eline Van Zijll De Jong, Noel O.I. Cogan, Kevin F. Smith, John W. Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is an important temperate pasture legume that plays a key role as a companion to grass species, such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Due to the outbreeding nature of white clover, cultivars are highly heterogeneous. Genetic diversity was assessed using 16 elite cultivars from Europe, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Fifteen simple sequence repeat markers that detect single, codominant polymorphic genetic loci were selected for the study. The genetic relationships among individuals were compared using phenetic clustering, and those among cultivars were compared using nonmetric multidimensional scaling. Intrapopulation variability exceeded interpopulation variability, with substantial overlap among populations and weak interpopulation differentiation. No obvious or significant differentiation was observed on the basis of morphology or geographic origin of the cultivars. The number of parental genotypes used to derive each cultivar was not a major determinant of genome-wide genetic diversity. The outcomes of this assessment of genetic variation in elite white clover germplasm pools have important implications for the feasibility of molecular marker-based cultivar discrimination, and will be used to assist the design of linkage disequilibrium mapping strategies for marker-trait association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-930
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


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