Genetic diversity and similarity of pear (Pyrus L.) cultivars native to East Asia revealed by SSR (simple sequence repeat) markers
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Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to assess genetic diversity and relationship of Pyrus L. cultivars native mainly to East Asia. A total of 168 putative alleles were generated from six primer-pairs (BGA35, KU10, BGT23b, NH004a, NH011b and NH015a). All the SSR markers showed a high level of genetic polymorphism with a mean of 28 putative alleles per locus and the heterozygosity of 0.63. The Dice’s similarity coefficient between cultivars ranged from 0.02 to 0.98 and Occidental pears generally had low affinities to Asian pears. Ten major groups were generated from all the accessions by UPGMA clusters analysis. Chinese sand pears consisted of four groups with Chinese white pears and Japanese pears, of which Chinese sand pears occurred in all four groups, presenting a large genetic diversity, Chinese white pears were included in three groups, and Japanese pears only fell into one group. In the dendrogram, Chinese sand pears and Chinese white pears did not form discrete group, even subgroups. Some Japanese pear cultivars had high affinities to Chinese sand pear cultivars. These findings supports the authors’ previous viewpoints of Chinese white pears as a variety or an ecotype of Chinese sand pears (P. pyrifolia var. sinensis (Lindley) Y. Teng et K. Tanabe) and the progenitor of Japanese pears coming from China. Cultivars of P. ussuriensis Maxim. were clustered together with one clone of P. hondoensis Nakai et Kikuchi, a relative species of P. ussuriensis. Cultivars of P. communis L. and other Occidental species formed three independent groups and were distant from most Asian pears, except for P. betulaefolia Bge.