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BMC Plant Biology

, 10:259

First Online: 23 November 2010Received: 17 September 2010Accepted: 23 November 2010


BackgroundThere is a growing interest in Jatropha curcas L. jatropha as a biodiesel feedstock plant. Variations in its morphology and seed productivity have been well documented. However, there is the lack of systematic comparative evaluation of distinct collections under same climate and agronomic practices. With the several reports on low genetic diversity in jatropha collections, there is uncertainty on genetic contribution to jatropha morphology.

ResultIn this study, five populations of jatropha plants collected from China CN, Indonesia MD, Suriname SU, Tanzania AF and India TN were planted in one farm under the same agronomic practices. Their agronomic traits branching pattern, height, diameter of canopy, time to first flowering, dormancy, accumulated seed yield and oil content were observed and tracked for two years. Significant variations were found for all the agronomic traits studied. Genetic diversity and epigenetic diversity were evaluated using florescence Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism fAFLP and methylation sensitive florescence AFLP MfAFLP methods. Very low level of genetic diversity was detected polymorphic band <0.1% within and among populations. In contrast, intermediate but significant epigenetic diversity was detected 25.3% of bands were polymorphic within and among populations. More than half of CCGG sites surveyed by MfAFLP were methylated with significant difference in inner cytosine and double cytosine methylation among populations. Principal coordinates analysis PCoA based on Nei-s epigenetic distance showed Tanzania-India group distinct from China-Indonesia-Suriname group. Inheritance of epigenetic markers was assessed in one F1 hybrid population between two morphologically distinct parent plants and one selfed population. 30 out of 39 polymorphic markers 77% were found heritable and followed Mendelian segregation. One epiallele was further confirmed by bisulphite sequencing of its corresponding genomic region.

ConclusionOur study confirmed climate and practice independent differences in agronomic performance among jatropha collections. Such agronomic trait variations, however, were matched by very low genetic diversity and medium level but significant epigenetic diversity. Significant difference in inner cytosine and double cytosine methylation at CCGG sites was also found among populations. Most epigenetic differential markers can be inherited as epialleles following Mendelian segregation. These results suggest possible involvement of epigenetics in jatropha development.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2229-10-259 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Chengxin Yi - Shilu Zhang - Xiaokun Liu - Ha TN Bui - Yan Hong


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