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Assessment of genetic diversity of thirty Tunisian fig (Ficus carica L.) accessions using pomological traits and SSR markers

Awatef Essid, Fateh Aljane, Mohamed Hichem Neily, Ali Ferchichi, José Ignacio Hormaza
Molecular biology reports 2021 v.48 no.1 pp. 335-346
Ficus carica, abscission, branches, cluster analysis, color, figs, firmness, fruit morphology, fruits, genetic variation, heterozygosity, loci, microsatellite repeats, molecular biology, neck, variance, Tunisia
Sixteen pomological traits were employed to characterize the diversity of 30 fig accessions collected mainly from Southeastern Tunisia and maintained at CFPA ‘El Gordhab’, Tataouine, in Southeastern Tunisia. Additionally, 13 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci were analyzed to detect the genetic diversity of the 30 fig accessions. In this study, qualitative data (fruit shape, fruit external color, fruit internal color, abscission of the stalk from the twig, skin peeling, fruit skin firmness) showed morphological variation within accessions. A highly significant difference (p < .01) among accessions was revealed for all the quantitative traits. The first three components (PC1, PC2, and PC3) of PCA accounted for 52.99% of the total variability. PC1, PC2, and PC3 accounted respectively for 28.02, 13.05, and 11.91% of the total variance. The most discriminating morphological parameters were fruit length and diameter, stalk length and diameter, neck length and diameter, stalk and flesh thickness, fruit shape, skin peeling, and skin firmness. Concerning the molecular results, 40 alleles were revealed. The number of alleles ranged between 2 to 6 with a mean of 3.08 alleles per locus. The observed heterozygosity (Ho) ranged from 0.03 (LMFC21, LMFC23, and LMFC32) to 0.83 (LMFC30) with an average of 0.43. The expected heterozygosity (He) varied from 0.03 (LMFC21, LMFC 23 and LMFC32) to 0.74 (LMFC30) with an average of 0.37. UPMGA cluster analysis and PCA grouped the accessions in 6 groups. Our results showed that the SSR markers used detected low genetic diversity within the accessions studied.