, Volume 78, Issue 3, pp 217-226

Molecular diversity and genome structure in modern sugarcane varieties

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RFLP analysis was performed on 40 sugarcane cultivated varieties. Twenty-two maize low copy DNA clones located on different regions of the 10 maize chromosomes were used as probes to survey variability among the sugarcane varieties. A total of 425 fragments, 411 of which were polymorphic, were identified for 22 probe/enzyme combinations. Each variety displayed an average of 7.28 fragments per combination, revealing the complex polyploid origin of modern sugarcane varieties. The average genetic similarity between sugarcane varieties was 0.61. Although cultivated varieties appear closely related to S. officinarum clones, the genes of S. spontaneum seem to constitute the principal component of varietal diversity. A very weak global structuring among the 40 varieties is observed, in agreement with the profuse exchanges of parental materials between sugarcane breeding stations. Traces of linkage disequilibrium can be attributed to the distribution of S. spontaneum chromosomes among sugarcane varieties. The possibility of using modern varieties as a population for detecting associations between molecular markers and agronomic traits is suggested.