Submitted to: International Symposium on Woody Ornamentals of the Temperate Zone
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 26, 2008
Publication Date: May 26, 2008
Citation: Rinehart, T.A., Pounders Jr, C.T. 2008. Estimating Diversity Among Lagerstroemia Species and Hybrids Using SSR Markers. International Symposium on Woody Ornamentals of the Temperate Zone pg 52. Technical Abstract: Crapemyrtles are popular small trees throughout southern US landscapes. The wide assortment of inflorescence colors, forms and sizes, coupled with a rather long flowering period (up to 120 days) have increased the popularity of this genus. Varieties with a broad range of plant sizes (from miniature 1 meter shrubs to +10 m tall trees), growth habits (broad, upright, weeping), cold hardiness (Zones 6-10), disease resistance (powdery mildew) and a range of bark characteristics and foliage fall colorations have been produced by breeding programs over the last 30 years. Lagerstroemia is one of the approximately 31 genera composing the Lythraceae family (Order: Myrtales). There are approximately eighty (80) species in the Lagerstroemia genus, native to SE Asia, but most are valued for commercial timber and medicinal uses and are unknown to gardeners and horticulturists. L. indica, L. fauriei, L. speciosa and L. subcostata have been employed as ornamental plants, but only the first two have been extensively used in the breeding, selection, and development of modern commercial cultivars. Many of the cultivars available today can be traced to L. indica and L. fauriei hybrids. We recently developed SSR markers for cultivar identification, hybrid verification, and marker assisted breeding. Here we demonstrate the utility of these markers by verifying interspecific crosses between L. indica, L. fauriei, and L. speciosa. We also developed DNA fingerprints for over 50 named varieties of crape myrtles to estimate diversity and determine parentage of newly released cultivars. Data consist of allele size variation at 44 SSR loci. Future research includes linkage mapping and gene discovery, particularly with respect to metallic flea beetle resistance.