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Identification and characterization of Italian common figs (Ficus carica) using nuclear microsatellite markers

Rodolfi, Margherita, Ganino, Tommaso, Chiancone, Benedetta, Petruccelli, Raffaella
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2018 v.65 no.5 pp. 1337-1348
Ficus carica, biodiversity, clones, cluster analysis, figs, fruits, genetic markers, genetic variation, genotype, germplasm, homonym, leaves, Italy, Mediterranean region
Common fig (Ficus carica L.) is one of the most ancient domesticated species, originated, supposedly in Arabia, from where it diffused to the Middle East and Asia, and to the Mediterranean basin, where it greatly diffused. More than 600 fig varieties have been described, but it is conceivable that this number is underestimated. Along all the Italian territory, there is a rich germplasm of fig composed of a large number of varieties (approximately 300) of very not well defined origin. Effectively, during several centuries of cultivation and propagation by seed, a large number of genotypes appeared and were selected, leading to the generation of an uncountable number of genotypes, different in numerous traits, particularly in those related to leaves and fruits features. Unfortunately, the extensive existing fig genetic patrimony is facing genetic erosion; for this reason, it is extremely important to study and valorised it, in order to preserve the remaining biodiversity. The purpose of this study was to genetically characterize, with nSSR markers, 79 fig accessions, collected in several areas in Italy. The set of chosen markers resulted highly polymorphic, and allowed the characterization of all the studied accessions. Data were analysed by cluster analysis, and the results demonstrated a great genetic variability within the population. The nSSR used, moreover, allowed us to identify all accessions and to recognised possible homonyms and synonyms, and cases of intravarietal clones.