Skip to main content Accessibility help

Molecular variance and population structure of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) landraces from Mediterranean countries as revealed by simple sequence repeat DNA markers: implications for conservation and use

  • Omar Idrissi (a1), Angela R. Piergiovanni (a2), Faruk Toklu (a3), Chafika Houasli (a1), Sripada M. Udupa (a4), Ellen De Keyser (a5), Patrick Van Damme (a6) (a7) and Jan De Riek (a5)...


The Mediterranean region has a rich history of domestication and cultivation of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.). Landraces have been grown and repeatedly selected by local farmers under different agro-environments. Characterization of molecular variation and genetic differentiation helps to ensure enhanced valorization, conservation and use of these genetic resources. Nineteen Simple Sequence Repeat DNA markers were used for molecular variance analysis (AMOVA) and population structure assessment underlying 74 lentil landraces from four Mediterranean countries: Morocco, Italy, Greece and Turkey. Based on AMOVA, presence of population structure and genetic differentiation at different levels were evidenced. Genetic diversity among Turkish landraces was higher than that of other countries. These landraces were more homogeneous as shown by low genetic differentiation among individuals within each landrace. Whereas Moroccan landraces followed by Italian and Greek provenances showed higher diversity and differentiation among individuals within landraces. The wide genetic variability of these landraces could help to better adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses. Moreover, they could provide useful alleles related to adaptive traits for breeding purposes. Based on structure analysis, we obtained indications of possible presence of two major gene pools: a northern gene pool composed of Turkish, Italian and Greek landraces, and a southern gene pool composed of Moroccan landraces. Our results could be of interest when designing future diversity studies, collection missions, conservation and core collection construction strategies on Mediterranean lentil landraces.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Hide All
Akeroyd, J (1999) Conserving the Mediterranean flora: a way forward. Plant Talk 18: 2328.
Bacchi, M, Leone, M, Mercati, F, Preiti, G, Sunseri, F and Monti, M (2010) Agronomic evaluation and genetic characterization of different accessions in lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.). Italian Journal of Agronomy 4: 303314.
Benbrahim, N, Taghouti, M, Zouahri, A and Gaboun, F (2017) On-farm conservation of Zaer lentil landrace in context of climate change and improved varieties competition. Universal Journal of Agricultural Research 5(1): 2738. doi: 10.13189/ujar.2017.050104.
Bhatty, RS (1988) Composition and quality of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik): a review. Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology Journal 21: 144160.
Carbonaro, M, Nardini, M, Maselli, P and Nucara, A (2015) Chemico-physical and nutritional properties of traditional legumes (lentil, Lens culinaris L., and grass pea, Lathyrus sativus L.) from organic agriculture: an explorative study. Organic Agriculture 5: 179187. doi: 10.1007/s13165-014-0086-y.
Coyne, C and McGee, R (2013) Lentil. In: Singh, M, Upadhyaya, HD and Bisht, IS (eds) Genetic and Genomic Resources of Grain Legume Improvement. London, UK: Elsevier Inc., pp. 157180. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-397935-3.00013-X.
Cubero, JI, Pérez de la Vega, M and Fratini, R (2009) Origin, phylogeny, domestication and spread. In: Erskine, W, Muehlbauer, F, Sarker, A and Sharma, B (eds) The Lentil: Botany, Production and Uses. London, UK: CABI Publishing, pp. 1333.
Davis, SD, Heywood, VH and Hamilton, AC (1994) Centres of Plant Diversity. A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation. Vol. 1: Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Cambridge, UK: IUCN Publications Unit.
Dikshit, HK, Singh, A, Singh, D, Aski, MS, Prakash, P, Jain, N, Meena, S, Kumar, S and Sarker, A (2015) Genetic diversity in Lens species revealed by EST and genomic simple sequence repeat analysis. PLoS ONE 10: e0138101. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138101.
Duran, Y and Perez De La Vega, M (2004) Assessment of genetic variation and species relationships in a collection of Lens using RAPD and ISSR. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 2: 538544.
Erskine, W (1997) Lessons for breeders from landraces of lentil. Euphytica 93: 107112.
Erskine, W, Myveci, K and Izgin, N (1981) Screening a world lentil collection for cold tolerance. LENS Newsletter 8: 58.
Erskine, W, Adham, Y and Holly, L (1989) Geographic distribution of variation in quantitative traits in a world lentil collection. Euphytica 43: 97103.
Erskine, W, Ellis, RH, Summerfield, RJ, Roberts, EH and Hussain, A (1990) Characterization of responses to temperature and photoperiod for time to flowering in a world lentil collection. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 80: 193199.
Evanno, G, Regnaut, S and Goudet, J (2005). Detecting the number of clusters of individuals using the software STRUCTURE: a simulation study. Molecular Ecology 14: 26112620. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02553.x.
Excoffier, L, Laval, G and Schneider, S (2005) ARLEQUIN ver. 3.0: an integrated software package for population genetics data analysis. Evolutionary Bioinformatics 1, 4750, Online.
Faratini, R, Perez De La Vega, M and Cubero, JI (2011) Lentil origin and domestication. In: Rubiales, D (ed.) Grain Legumes, vol. 57. Córdoba, Spain: Magazine of the European Association for Grain Legumes Research, pp. 58.
Ferguson, M and Erskine, W (2001) The genetic diversity of legumes species in the Mediterranean: lens. In: Maxted, N and Bennett, SJ (eds) Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 125133.
Ferguson, ME, Robertson, LD, Ford-Lloyd, BV, Newbury, HJ and Maxted, N (1998) Contrasting genetic variation amongst lentil landraces from different geographical origins. Euphytica 102: 265273.
Gepts, P (2006) Plant genetic resources conservation and utilization: the accomplishments and future of a societal insurance policy. Crop Science 46: 22782292.
Grusak, MA (2009) Nutritional and health-beneficial quality. In: Erskine, W, Muehlbauer, FJ, Sarker, A and Sharma, B (eds) The Lentil: Botany, Production and Uses. Oxfordshire: CAB International, pp. 368390.
Grusak, MA and Coyne, CJ (2009) Variation for seed minerals and protein concentrations in diverse germplasm of lentil. In: Paper presented at North America Pulse Improvement Association, 20th Biennial Meeting, Fort Collins.
Hamwieh, A, Udupa, SM, Choumane, W, Sarker, A, Dreyer, F, Jung, C and Baum, M (2005) A genetic linkage map of Lens sp. based on microsatellite and AFLP markers and the localization of fusarium vascular wilt resistance. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 110: 669677.
Hamwieh, A, Udupa, SM, Sarker, A, Jung, C and Baum, M (2009) Development of new microsatellite markers and their application in the analysis of genetic diversity in lentils. Breeding Science 59: 7786.
Heywood, VH (1995) The Mediterranean flora in the context of world diversity. Ecologia Mediterranea 21: 1118.
Idrissi, O, Udupa, SM, Houasli, Ch, De Keyser, E, Van Damme, P and De Riek, J (2015) Genetic diversity analysis of Moroccan lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) landraces using simple sequence repeat and amplified fragment length polymorphisms reveals functional adaptation towards agro-environmental origins. Plant Breeding 134: 322332. doi: 10.1111/pbr.12261.
Idrissi, O, Udupa, SM, De Keyser, E, Van Damme, P and De Riek, J (2016) Functional genetic diversity analysis and identification of associated simple sequence repeats and amplified fragment length polymorphism markers to drought tolerance in lentil (Lens culinaris ssp. Culinaris Medicus) landraces. Plant MolBiol Report 34(3): 659680. doi: 10.1007/s11105-015-0940-4.
Khazaei, H, Caron, CT, Fedoruk, M, Diapari, M, Vandenberg, A, Coyne, CJ, McGee, R and Bett, KE (2016) Genetic diversity of cultivated lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) and its relation to the world's agro-ecological zones. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 1093. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01093.
Ladizinsky, G (1979) The origin of lentil and its wild gene pool. Euphytica 28: 179187.
Lombardi, M, Materne, M, Cogan, NO, Rodda, M, Daetwyler, HD, Slater, AT, Forster, JW and Kaur, S (2014) Assessment of genetic variation within a global collection of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik) cultivars and landraces using SNP markers. BMC Genetics 15: 150. doi: 10.1186/ s12863-014-0150-3.
Maxim, A (2010) Conservation of genetic diversity in culture plants. Pro Environment 3: 5053.
Maxted, N and Bennett, SJ (2001) Legume diversity in the Mediterranean region. In: Maxted, N and Bennett, SJ (eds) Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 5175.
Mayer, JE, Pfeiffer, WH and Beyer, P (2008) Biofortified crops to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 11: 166170.
Muehlbauer, FJ and Tullu, A (1997) Lens culinaris Medik. West Lafayette: Center for New Crops and Plant Products, Purdue University. Available at (Last accessed 5 May 2017).
Piergiovanni, AR and Taranto, G (2003) Geographic distribution of genetic variation in lentil collection as revealed by SDS-PAGE fractionation of seed storage proteins. Journal Genetic and Breeding 57: 3946.
Porras-Hurtado, L, Ruiz, Y, Santos, C, Phillips, Ch, Carracedo, Á and Lareu, MV (2013) An overview of STRUCTURE: applications, parameter settings, and supporting software. Frontiers in Genetics 4: 98. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2013.00098.
Pritchard, JK, Stephens, M and Donnelly, P (2000) Inference of population structure using multilocus genotype data. Genetics 155: 945959.
Pritchard, JK, Wen, X and Falush, D (2010) Documentation for structure software: Version 2.3. Department of Human Genetics University of Chicago, Department of Statistics University of oxford. (Last accessed 26 April 2017).
Sandhu, JS and Singh, S (2007) History and origin. In: Yadav, SS, McNeil, D and Stevenson, PhC (eds) Lentil: An Ancient Crop for Modern Times. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, pp. 19.
Sarker, A, Erskine, W, Bakr, MA, Rahman, MM, Yadav, NK, Ali, A and Saxena, MC (2002) Role of lentil human nutrition in the Asian region. In: Paper presented at Joint CLAN Steering Committee Meeting, 10–12 Nov., ICRISAT, Patancheru.
Schmidt, K (2011) Göbeklitepe: a neolithic site in Southeastern Anatolia. In: Steadman, SR and McMahon, G (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 917933.
Shahzad, Z, Rouached, H and Rakha, A (2014) Combating mineral malnutrition through iron and zinc biofortification of cereals. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 13: 329346.
Singh, M, Bisht, IS, Kumar, S, Dutta, M, Bansal, KC, Karale, M, Sarker, A, Amri, A, Kumar, S and Datta, SK (2014) Global wild annual lens collection: a potential resource for lentil genetic base broadening and yield enhancement. PLoS ONE 9(9): e107781. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107781.
Sonnante, G and Pignone, D (2001) Assessment of genetic variation in a collection of lentil using molecular tools. Euphytica 120: 301307.
Sonnante, G and Pignone, D (2007) The major Italian landraces of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.): their molecular diversity and possible origin. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 54: 10231031.
Sonnante, G, Galasso, I and Pignone, D (2003) ITS sequence analysis and phylogenetic inference in the genus Lens mill. Annals of Botany 91: 4954.
Toklu, F, Karaköy, T, Hakli, E, Bicer, T, Brandolini, A, Kilian, B, Özkan, H (2009) Genetic variation among lentil (Len sculinaris Medik) landraces from Southeast Turkey. Plant Breeding 128: 178186.
Torricelli, R, Donato, DF, Nicoletta, FV, Gianfranco, V, Fabio, V and Luigi, R (2011) Characterization of the lentil landrace Santo Stefano di Sessanio from Abruzzo, Italy. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 59: 261276.
Viscosi, V, Lalicicco, M, Rocco, M, Trupiano, D, Arena, S, Chiatante, D, Scaloni, A and Scippa, GS (2010) Lentils biodiversity: the characterization of two local landraces. In: Nimis, PL, Vignes Lebbe, R (eds) Tools for Identifying Biodiversity: Progress and Problems, ISBN 978-88-8303-295-0.EUT. UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 327331.
White, PJ and Broadley, MR (2009) Biofortification of crops with seven mineral elements often lacking in human diets – iron, zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, selenium and iodine. New Phytologist Journal 182: 4984.
Wright, S (1978) Evolution and the Genetics of Populations. Vol. 4. Variability Within and Among Natural Populations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 590 p.
Yadav, SS, Stevenson, PhC, Rizvi, AH, Manohar, M, Gailing, S and Mateljan, G (2007) Uses and consumption. In: Yadav, SS, McNeil, D and Stevenson, PC (eds) Lentil: An Ancient Crop for Modern Times. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, pp. 3346.
Zaccardelli, M, Lupo, F, Piergiovanni, AR, Laghetti, G, Sonnante, G, Daminati, MG, Sparvoli, F and Lioi, L (2011) Characterization of Italian lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) germplasm by agronomic traits, biochemical and molecular markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 59: 727738.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Molecular variance and population structure of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) landraces from Mediterranean countries as revealed by simple sequence repeat DNA markers: implications for conservation and use

  • Omar Idrissi (a1), Angela R. Piergiovanni (a2), Faruk Toklu (a3), Chafika Houasli (a1), Sripada M. Udupa (a4), Ellen De Keyser (a5), Patrick Van Damme (a6) (a7) and Jan De Riek (a5)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.