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Local-level assessment of watermelon genetic diversity in a village in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe: Structure and dynamics of landraces on farm

Local-level assessment of watermelon genetic diversity in a village in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe: Structure and dynamics of landraces on farm

African Journal of Agricultural Research 6(27): 5822-5834

ISSN/ISBN: 1991-637X

DOI: 10.5897/ajar11.100

Watermelon landraces provide valuable food for human consumption as well as animal feed in the drought-prone parts of Zimbabwe, especially in the Masvingo area where subsistence agriculture is predominant. Using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), this study investigated intra-and inter-landrace genetic variation at the village level. Seedling offspring from 29 landraces, collected at four recently established farms in the same village, were assessed; 20 landraces of sweet watermelon and 9 landraces of cow-melon. Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) and ordination revealed much variation across the landraces, and strong differentiation between the two main forms of sweet watermelons and cow-melons. Within each of these two forms, landraces from the same farm formed well-separated sub-clusters. The farmers' perceptions with regards to culture, cropping systems, seed systems and utilization were also documented. Obtained information about, e. g., farmers' use of own seed or seed acquired from close family members, traditional myths and different cultivation practices, are concordant with the results from the RAPD analysis. This study is relevant for the development of in situ management strategies for conservation of watermelon landraces at the village level.

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Accession: 066256314

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