Molecular diversity in pineapple assessed by RFLP markers
Pineapple, Ananas comosus (L.) Merr, is the third most important tropical fruit cultivated in all tropical and subtropical countries. Pineapple germplasm includes all seven species of the genus Ananas and the unique species of the related genus Pseudananas. A knowledge of its diversity structure is needed to develop new breeding programs. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) was used to study molecular diversity in a set of 301 accessions, most of which were recently collected. This sample was analysed using 18 homologous genomic probes. Dissimilarities were calculated by a Dice index and submitted to Factorial Analysis. The same data were represented as a diversity tree constructed with the score method. Pseudananas sagenarius displayed a high polymorphism and shares 58.7% of its bands with Ananas. Within Ananas, variation appears continuous and was found mostly at the intraspecific level, particularly in the wild species Ananas ananassoides and Ananas parguazensis. As for the cultivated species, Ananas comosus appears relatively homogeneous despite its wide morphological variation and Ananas bracteatus, which is grown as a fence and for fruit, appears still much less variable. By contrast Ananas lucidus, cultivated by the Amerindians for fiber, displays a high polymorphism. This tree displayed a loose assemblage of numerous clusters separated by short distances. Most species were scattered in various clusters, a few of these being monospecific. Some accessions which had not been classified, as they shared morphological traits typical of different species, re-group with one or the other, and sometimes with both species in mixed clusters. No reproductive barrier exists in this germplasm and these data indicate the existence of gene flow, enhancing the role of effective sexual reproduction in a species with largely predominant vegetative mutiplication.
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