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Molecular characterization of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) accessions from Fars Province of Iran using microsatellite markers

Zarei, Abdolkarim, Sahraroo, Amir
Horticulture, environment and biotechnology 2018 v.59 no.2 pp. 239-249
Punica granatum, alleles, breeding programs, cluster analysis, genetic markers, genetic recombination, genetic variation, germplasm conservation, heterozygosity, loci, microsatellite repeats, pomegranates, population structure, provenance, variance, Iran
Pomegranate is a long-cultivated fruit tree believed to have originated in Iran. In the present study, 16 preselected nuclear microsatellite markers, or simple sequence repeats (SSRs), were analyzed in 50 pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) accessions from five regions in Fars province of Iran. Each SSR loci was polymorphic and produced 48 fragments in the studied samples. The mean expected and observed heterozygosity of the 16 SSR loci was 0.33 and 0.48, respectively. The polymorphic information content ranged from 0.18 to 0.58 with an average of 0.41. There were some differences regarding diversity indices among populations, and several private alleles were detected in different populations, indicating the importance of these accessions for genetic conservation. Cluster analysis using SSR data grouped genotypes largely based on their geographical origins. Analysis of molecular variance showed that most of the genetic variation was among populations. Genetic synonymy was observed in some pomegranate accessions located across geographical regions. A relatively high level of genetic admixture was found among accessions from different regions, suggesting that there is a high level of genetic exchange between individual genotypes. This work assesses the genetic diversity and population structure of pomegranates in Fars province, which assists in future conservation and breeding programs.