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Targeted and untargeted selections including domestication and breeding efforts can reduce genetic diversity in breeding germplasm and create selective sweeps in crop genomes. The genomic regions at which selective sweeps are detected can reveal important information about signatures of selection. We have analyzed the genetic diversity within a soybean germplasm collection relevant for breeding in Europe (the EUCLEG collection), and have identified selective sweeps through a genome-wide scan comparing that collection to Chinese soybean collections. This work involved genotyping of 480 EUCLEG soybean accessions, including 210 improved varieties, 216 breeding lines and 54 landraces using the 355K SoySNP microarray. SNP calling of 477 EUCLEG accessions together with 328 Chinese soybean accessions identified 224,993 high-quality SNP markers. Population structure analysis revealed a clear differentiation between the EUCLEG collection and the Chinese materials. Further, the EUCLEG collection was sub-structured into five subgroups that were differentiated by geographical origin. No clear association between subgroups and maturity group was detected. The genetic diversity was lower in the EUCLEG collection compared to the Chinese collections. Selective sweep analysis revealed 23 selective sweep regions distributed over 12 chromosomes. Co-localization of these selective sweep regions with previously reported QTLs and genes revealed that various signatures of selection in the EUCLEG collection may be related to domestication and improvement traits including seed protein and oil content, phenology, nitrogen fixation, yield components, diseases resistance and quality. No signatures of selection related to stem determinacy were detected. In addition, absence of signatures of selection for a substantial number of QTLs related to yield, protein content, oil content and phenological traits suggests the presence of substantial genetic diversity in the EUCLEG collection. Taken together, the results obtained demonstrate that the available genetic diversity in the EUCLEG collection can be further exploited for research and breeding purposes. However, incorporation of exotic material can be considered to broaden its genetic base.
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