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Brian Gerard Monaghan
Master of Agricultural Science (University of Melbourne, February 1995).
The level of genetic variation in three natural populations of morama from Botswana was investigated using the RAPD technique. Isozyme analysis and some leaf characteristics were also included in this investigation.
A high level of genetic diversity was observed in all three morama populations. Eighty five percent of the variation was present within populations rather than between, indicating that despite their geographic separation very little genetic differentiation has occurred between the populations sampled.
The nutritional composition of morama seed was measured in two of the populations and significant differences were found between individual plants. The protein content ranged from 29.6% to 41.8% and the oil content ranged from 32.1% to 45.3%. These values compare favourably with many legume species currently being cultivated and confirms the potential of morama as a new food crop.
An outcrossing rate of 0.77 was measured among plants from one of the morama populations, indicating that morama is a predominantly outcrossing species.
Chromosome counts made from the root tips of morama seedlings ranged from 42 to 50. This relatively high number of chromosomes is consistent with a count of 52 which has been reported in the closely related species, Tylosema fassoglensis. The isozyme analysis also revealed what appeared to be tetrasomic inheritance at the SKD locus. It is therefore proposed that morama may be an autotetraploid species.
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originally created by:GK; latest update 6 June 1999 by: RF