Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 3, 2007
Publication Date: April 5, 2007
Citation: Rinehart, T.A. 2007. Genetic Diversity Estimates and DNA Fingerprint Database for Crapemyrtle Cultivars. American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting. Technical Abstract: Lagerstroemia, first introduced to the southern US from Southeast Asia over one hundred fifty years ago, is comprised of at least 80 known species. Breeding programs over the last 30 years have utilized L. indica, L. fauriei, L. speciosa , L. subcostata and L. limii as ornamental plants. However, because of a wider range of plant sizes and habits, improved flowering, new flower colors and sizes, disease resistance and increased vigor, the majority of cultivars grown today are hybrids, namely L. indica and L. fauriei hybrids. Once well established, they are extremely tolerant to heat and drought, require little fertilization, and exhibit prolific summer flowers making them a popular woody landscape plant in the South. We recently developed simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers for Lagerstroemia and evaluated their utility for identifying interspecific hybrids. Here we present verification of intraspecific hybrids and DNA fingerprints for over 50 popular cultivars including germplasm released by the National Arboretum. Data represent a comprehensive evaluation of the genetic diversity available and a roadmap for future crapemyrtle breeding. The recently established DNA fingerprint database allows for unambiguous cultivar identification and hybrid verification for resolving true-to-name disputes, plant mislabeling, and patent protection disputes.