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Rapid microsatellite marker development for African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis, Meliaceae) using next-generation sequencing and assessment of its intra-specific genetic diversity


Geoffrey R. Dickinson, Fax: +61 7 4092 3593; E-mail:


Khaya senegalensis (African mahogany or dry-zone mahogany) is a high-value hardwood timber species with great potential for forest plantations in northern Australia. The species is distributed across the sub-Saharan belt from Senegal to Sudan and Uganda. Because of heavy exploitation and constraints on natural regeneration and sustainable planting, it is now classified as a vulnerable species. Here, we describe the development of microsatellite markers for K. senegalensis using next-generation sequencing to assess its intra-specific diversity across its natural range, which is a key for successful breeding programs and effective conservation management of the species. Next-generation sequencing yielded 93 943 sequences with an average read length of 234 bp. The assembled sequences contained 1030 simple sequence repeats, with primers designed for 522 microsatellite loci. Twenty-one microsatellite loci were tested with 11 showing reliable amplification and polymorphism in K. senegalensis. The 11 novel microsatellites, together with one previously published, were used to assess 73 accessions belonging to the Australian K. senegalensis domestication program, sampled from across the natural range of the species. STRUCTURE analysis shows two major clusters, one comprising mainly accessions from west Africa (Senegal to Benin) and the second based in the far eastern limits of the range in Sudan and Uganda. Higher levels of genetic diversity were found in material from western Africa. This suggests that new seed collections from this region may yield more diverse genotypes than those originating from Sudan and Uganda in eastern Africa.