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Cross-transferability of SSR markers developed in Rhododendron species of Himalaya

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Rhododendron is a genus of evergreen woody ornamental plants of northern hemisphere with strong cold resistance, attractive flowers and high altitude adaptation capacity. The genus originated and diversified from Sino-Himalayan region and spread across the world, and has high species diversity in Northeast India. To assess cross-species amplification, we tested 32 microsatellites markers in fifteen taxa of the genus Rhododendron of North-eastern Himalaya, of which fourteen microsatellites were newly developed from Rhododendron simsii, and eighteen microsatellites were previously developed from Rhododendron catawbiense and Rhododendron mucronatum var. ripense. Nine pairs of primers were amplified successfully in all species, however, none of them was failed for amplification in any of the species. The average observed heterozygosity, expected heterozygosity and PIC value were recorded as 0.310, 0.433 and 0.379 respectively. Clustering based on neighbour-joining analysis revealed the potential of these markers to segregate species according to their subgenus level, however, subspecies exhibited closeness with each other. Cross-application of these microsatellite loci will provide a potentially useful tool to investigate the genetic diversity, population structure, gene flow, phylogenetics and evolutionary relationships in species of genus Rhododendron.

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G. B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali are acknowledged for providing necessary facilities. Department of Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management, Govt. of Sikkim is highly acknowledged for support in joint project on Himalayan Nature Learning Centre (H-NLC) Development.

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SR and HS conceived the idea and designed the experiments. HS, and AB mined the data and perform the experiments. HS and SR wrote the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Sandeep Rawat.

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Sharma, H., Bhandawat, A. & Rawat, S. Cross-transferability of SSR markers developed in Rhododendron species of Himalaya. Mol Biol Rep 47, 6399–6406 (2020).

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