, Volume 98, Issue 6-7, pp 968-976

Genetic diversity in selected, historical US sugarbeet germplasm and Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima

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 Diversity among sugar beet accessions released over the first 50 years of public breeding in the United States was examined to ascertain a baseline of genetic diversity and to gauge the effect of breeding on the loss or gain of diversity over this time period. Accessions were chosen as released germplasm from the major breeding stations contributing to the US germplasm pool and their presumed ancestors from Europe, including representatives for the wild forms Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima. Sixty nine polymorphic RAPD fragments were used for gene frequency analysis, and heterozygosity was determined within and among groups of accessions related either by breeding station or simply inherited agronomic characters for monogerm seed and restoration of fertility in a cytoplasmic male-sterile background. In general, heterozygosity within releases declined with time, but total genetic diversity in the US germplasm pool remained constant. Breeding for the agronomic characters had a marked influence in reducing diversity.

Received: 20 October 1998 / Accepted: 28 October 1998