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International Journal of Genomics
Volume 2016, Article ID 8956412, 5 pages
Research Article

Genetic Diversity of Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) Accession in Kenya Gene Bank Based on Simple Sequence Repeat Markers

1Department of Biological Sciences, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya
2Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Received 4 August 2016; Revised 18 October 2016; Accepted 1 November 2016

Academic Editor: Wenqin Wang

Copyright © 2016 Emily N. Wamalwa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Increased agricultural production is an urgent issue. Projected global population is 9 million people by mid of this century. Estimation projects death of 1 million people for lack of food quality (micronutrient deficit) and quantity (protein deficit). Majority of these people will be living in developing countries. Other global challenges include shrinking cultivable lands, salinity, and flooding due to climate changes, new emerging pathogens, and pests. These affect crop production. Furthermore, they are major threats to crop genetic resources and food security. Genetic diversity in cultivated crops indicates gene pool richness. It is the greatest resource for plant breeders to select lines that enhance food security. This study was conducted by Masinde Muliro University to evaluate genetic diversity in 19 cowpea accessions from Kenya national gene bank. Accessions clustered into two major groups. High divergence was observed between accessions from Ethiopia and Australia and those from Western Kenya. Upper Volta accessions were closely related to those from Western Kenya. Low variation was observed between accessions from Eastern and Rift Valley than those from Western and Coastal regions of Kenya. Diversity obtained in this study can further be exploited for the improvement of cowpea in Kenya as a measure of food security.