Weed genetic diversity is important for understanding the ability of weeds to adapt to different environments and the impact of herbicide selection on weed populations. Genetic diversity within and among six wild oat populations in China varying in herbicide selection pressure and one population in North Dakota were surveyed using 64 polymorphic alleles resulting from 25 microsatellite loci. Mean Nei's gene diversity (h) for six wild oat populations from China was between 0.17 and 0.21, and total diversity (HT) was 0.23. A greater proportion of this diversity, however, was within (Hs = 0.19) rather than among (Gst = 0.15) populations. For the wild oat population from the United States, h = 0.24 and HT = 0.24 were comparable to the values for the six populations from China. Cluster analysis divided the seven populations into two groups, where one group was the United States population and the other group included the six Chinese populations. The genetic relationships among six populations from China were weakly correlated with their geographic distribution (r = 0.22) using the Mantel test. Minimal difference in gene diversity and small genetic distance (Nei's distance 0.07 or less) among six populations from China are consistent with wide dispersal of wild oat in the 1980s. Our results indicate that the wild oat populations in China are genetically diverse at a level similar to North America, and the genetic diversity of wild oat in the broad spatial scale is not substantially changed by environment, agronomic practices, or herbicide usage.
Nomenclature: Wild oat, Avena fatua L. AVEFA.