François Allal

Université de Lomé, Lomé, Maritime, Togo

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Publications (9)39.31 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa, is one of the most economically and culturally important indigenous tree species in the Sudano-Sahelian region. Its seeds contain a vegetable fat, internationally known as shea butter, which is widely used in edible, cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors. Based on samples from 456 trees distributed in 17 locations across the species natural range from Senegal to Uganda, the fatty acid and tocopherol variation, and its relationship with geographic and climatic variables, was assessed in order to address the pattern and the origin of this variation across the natural range. Significant differences between Western and Eastern regions for oleic, stearic acid, saturated–unsaturated acid ratio and γ-tocopherol were identified that it is postulated maybe a result of genetic drift due to the evolutionary history of shea tree populations. Within regions the difference among stands was significant for most constituents; however the major part of the variation was observed among trees within stand (53–90 %). Relationships with climatic variables were not verified, weakening evidence for clinal variation hypotheses suggested by previous studies.
    Agroforestry Systems 01/2013; · 1.37 Impact Factor
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    Heredity 12/2011; 107(6):601. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While the genetic structure of many tree species in temperate, American and Asian regions is largely explained by climatic oscillations and subsequent habitat contractions and expansions, little is known about Africa. We investigated the genetic diversity and structure of shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa,) in Western Africa, an economically important tree species in the Sudano-Sahelian zone. Eleven nuclear microsatellites (nuc) were used to genotype 673 trees selected in 38 populations. They revealed moderate to high within-population diversity: allelic richness ranged from R(nuc) = 3.99 to 5.63. This diversity was evenly distributed across West Africa. Populations were weakly differentiated (F(STnuc) = 0.085; P < 0.0001) and a pattern of isolation by distance was noted. No phylogeographic signal could be detected across the studied sample. Additionally, two chloroplast microsatellite loci, leading to 11 chlorotypes, were used to analyse a sub-set of 370 individuals. Some variation in chloroplast allelic richness among populations could be detected (R(cp) = 0.00 to 4.36), but these differences were not significant. No trend with latitude and longitude were observed. Differentiation was marked (G(STcp) = 0.553; P < 0.0001), but without a significant phylogeographical signal. Population expansion was detected considering the total population using approximate Bayesian computation (nuclear microsatellites) and mismatch distribution (chloroplast microsatellites) methods. This expansion signal and the isolation by distance pattern could be linked to the past climatic conditions in West Africa during the Pleistocene and Holocene which should have been favourable to shea tree development. In addition, human activities through agroforestry and domestication (started 10,000 bp) have probably enhanced gene flow and population expansion.
    Molecular Ecology 09/2011; 20(19):4009-27. · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown substantial differences in Sodalis glossinidius and trypanosome infection rates between Glossina palpalis palpalis populations from two Cameroonian foci of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), Bipindi and Campo. We hypothesized that the geographical isolation of the two foci may have induced independent evolution in the two areas, resulting in the diversification of symbiont genotypes. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the symbiont genetic structure using the allelic size variation at four specific microsatellite loci. Classical analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) and differentiation statistics revealed that most of the genetic diversity was observed among individuals within populations and frequent haplotypes were shared between populations. The structure of genetic diversity varied at different geographical scales, with almost no differentiation within the Campo HAT focus and a low but significant differentiation between the Campo and Bipindi HAT foci. The data provided new information on the genetic diversity of the secondary symbiont population revealing mild structuring. Possible interactions between S. glossinidius subpopulations and Glossina species that could favor tsetse fly infections by a given trypanosome species should be further investigated.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 08/2011; 5(8):e1281. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The evolution of the savanna biome has been deeply marked by repeated contraction/expansion phases due to climate perturbations during the Quaternary period. In this study, we investigated the impact of the last glacial maximum (LGM) on the present genetic pattern of Vitellaria paradoxa (shea tree), a major African savanna tree. A range-wide sampling of the species enabled us to sample 374 individuals from 71 populations distributed throughout sub-Sahelian Africa. Trees were genotyped using 3 chloroplasts and 12 nuclear microsatellites, and were sequenced for 2 polymorphic chloroplast intergenic spacers. Analyses of genetic diversity and structure were based on frequency-based and Bayesian methods. Potential distributions of V. paradoxa at present, during the LGM and the last interglacial period, were examined using DIVA-GIS ecological niche modelling (ENM). Haplotypic and allelic richness varied significantly across the range according to chloroplast and nuclear microsatellites, which pointed to higher diversity in West Africa. A high but contrasted level of differentiation was revealed among populations with a clear phylogeographic signal, with both nuclear (F(ST) = 0.21; R(ST) = 0.28; R(ST) > R(ST) (permuted)) and chloroplast simple sequence repeats (SSRs) (G(ST) = 0.81; N(ST) = 0.90; N(ST) > N(ST) (permuted)). We identified a strong geographically related structure separating western and eastern populations, and a substructure in the eastern part of the area consistent with subspecies distinction. Using ENM, we deduced that perturbations during the LGM fragmented the potential eastern distribution of shea tree, but not its distribution in West Africa. Our main results suggest that climate variations are the major factor explaining the genetic pattern of V. paradoxa.
    Heredity 03/2011; 107(2):174-86. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wild tomato species are a valuable system in which to study local adaptation to drought: they grow in diverse environments ranging from mesic to extremely arid conditions. Here, we investigate the evolution of members of the Asr (ABA/water stress/ripening induced) gene family, which have been reported to be involved in the water stress response. We analysed molecular variation in the Asr gene family in populations of two closely related species, Solanum chilense and Solanum peruvianum. We concluded that Asr1 has evolved under strong purifying selection. In contrast to previous reports, we did not detect evidence for positive selection at Asr2. However, Asr4 shows patterns consistent with local adaptation in an S. chilense population that lives in an extremely dry environment. We also discovered a new member of the gene family, Asr5. Our results show that the Asr genes constitute a dynamic gene family and provide an excellent example of tandemly arrayed genes that are of importance in adaptation. Taking the potential distribution of the species into account, it appears that S. peruvianum can cope with a great variety of environmental conditions without undergoing local adaptation, whereas S. chilense undergoes local adaptation more frequently.
    New Phytologist 02/2011; 190(4):1032-44. · 6.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) is a major tree species in African agroforestry systems. Butter extracted from its nuts offers an opportunity for sustainable development in Sudanian countries and an attractive potential for the food and cosmetics industries. The purpose of this study was to develop near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations to characterize Shea nut fat profiles. Powders prepared from nuts collected from 624 trees in five African countries (Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda) were analyzed for moisture content, fat content using solvent extraction, and fatty acid profiles using gas chromatography. Results confirmed the differences between East and West African Shea nut fat composition: eastern nuts had significantly higher fat and oleic acid contents. Near infrared reflectance spectra were recorded for each sample. Ten percent of the samples were randomly selected for validation and the remaining samples used for calibration. For each constituent, calibration equations were developed using modified partial least squares (MPLS) regression. The equation performances were evaluated using the ratio performance to deviation (RPD(p)) and R(p)(2) parameters, obtained by comparison of the validation set NIR predictions and corresponding laboratory values. Moisture (RPD(p) = 4.45; R(p)(2) = 0.95) and fat (RPD(p) = 5.6; R(p)(2) = 0.97) calibrations enabled accurate determination of these traits. NIR models for stearic (RPD(p) = 6.26; R(p)(2) = 0.98) and oleic (RPD(p) = 7.91; R(p)(2) = 0.99) acids were highly efficient and enabled sharp characterization of these two major Shea butter fatty acids. This study demonstrated the ability of near-infrared spectroscopy for high-throughput phenotyping of Shea nuts.
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 07/2010; 58(13):7811-9. · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We implemented a regression-based method between pairwise relatedness estimated from markers and phenotypic similarity to estimate heritability of traits related to leaf size and morphology in a wild tree population (Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.: shea tree). We then compared the results with heritability estimated with a classical pedigree-based method. We tested both approaches in an agroforestry population of this tree species, a very important one and abundant in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Africa. Twelve microsatellite loci were used to estimate pairwise relatedness after selection of estimator coefficients based on Monte Carlo simulation. The regression-based method applied to 200 individuals did not display a significant trend with physical distance between trees for relatedness as well as for actual variance of relatedness. In consequence, estimates of narrow-sense heritability of traits related to leaf size were not significant. The pedigree-based method using a progeny test with 39 families and 15 individuals per family from the same population showed high and significant estimates of narrow-sense heritability for the same traits (h2=0.36–0.95), demonstrating a marked genetic variation within the population. This discrepancy between methods stresses the poor performance of the molecular marker-based method. This can be explained by the absence of fine-scale structure within the agroforestry population of shea trees, other parameters being consistent with recommended values. The regression-based method does not seem well adapted to the agroforestry tree population. New experiments in tree populations and theoretical approaches are needed to evaluate the real potential of the marker-based methods.
    Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 12/2008; 55(8):1291-1301. · 1.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vitellaria paradoxa is one of the major components of African parkland agroforestry systems. In order to assess the genetic diversity and population structure of this species, we isolated and characterized 14 polymorphic nuclear microsatellite loci. Primers developed to amplify these loci were used to analyse 200 individuals of a shea tree population in Mali. Loci have shown a high number of alleles ranging from four to 26, and display an observed level of heterozygosity between 0.37 and 0.85. These new very polymorphic microsatellite markers will be useful for genetic and ecological studies of V. paradoxa.
    Molecular Ecology Resources 07/2008; 8(4):822-4. · 7.43 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

57 Citations
39.31 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011
    • Université de Lomé
      Lomé, Maritime, Togo
    • Institut d'Economie Rurale, Bamako
      Bammaco, Bamako, Mali
  • 2010–2011
    • Cirad - La recherche agronomique pour le développement
      • Département Scientifique Performances des Systèmes de Production et de Transformation Tropicaux
      Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France