Comparative study of the discriminating capacity of RAPD, AFLP and SSR markers and of their effectiveness in establishing genetic relationships in olive
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RAPDs, AFLPs and SSRs were compared in terms of their informativeness and efficiency in a study of genetic diversity and relationships among 32 olive cultivars cultivated in Italy and Spain. SSRs presented a higher level of polymorphism and a greater information content, as assessed by the expected heterozygosity, than AFLPs and RAPDs. The lowest values of expected heterozygosity were obtained for AFLPs, which, nevertheless were the most efficient marker system due to their capacity to reveal the highest number of bands per reaction and because of the high values achieved for a considerable number of indexes. All three techniques discriminated the genotypes very effectively, but only SSRs were able to discriminate the cultivars Frantoio and Cellina. The correlation coefficients of similarity were statistically significant for all three marker systems used but were lower for the SSR data than for RAPDs and AFLPs. For all markers a high similarity in dendrogram topologies was obtained although some differences were observed. All the dendrograms, including that obtained by the combined use of all the marker data, reflect some relationships for most of the cultivars according to their geographic diffusion. AMOVA analysis detected greater genetic differentiation among cultivars within each country than it did between the two countries.