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Title: Molecular genetic diversity of Punica granatum L. (pomegranate) as revealed by microsatellite DNA markers

item HASNAOUI, NEJIB - Institute National De La Recherche Agronomique De Tunisie (INRAT)
item BUONAMICI, ANNA - University Of Tunis El Manar
item SEBASTIANI, FEDERICO - Institute Of Plant Genetics
item MARS, MESSAOUD - Institute Of Plant Genetics
item Zhang, Dapeng
item VENDRAMINC, GIOVANNI - Institute Of Plant Genetics

Submitted to: Gene
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2011
Publication Date: 2/2/2012
Citation: Hasnaoui, N., Buonamici, A., Sebastiani, F., Mars, M., Zhang, D., Vendraminc, G. 2012. Molecular genetic diversity of Punica granatum L. (pomegranate) as revealed by microsatellite DNA markers. Gene. 493:105–112.

Interpretive Summary: Pomegranate is one of the oldest known edible fruit species native to the region spanning from Iran to northern India. This fruit species was domesticated around 3500 BC in Western Asia. It is grown as a fruit crop plant, and as ornamental trees and shrubs in parks and gardens. In spite of the long history of cultivation, pomegranate has been a neglected and under-utilized crop with little information available in terms of its botany, agronomy and genetics. This study developed DNA fingerprints for Pomegranate and assessed genetic variation in 33 P. Pomegranate varieties from Tunisia. The DNA fingerprinting technology accurately identified redundancy and revealed a narrow genetic diversity in Tunisia. This information will be used by plant breeders, scientists and extension people to improve Pomegranate production around the world.

Technical Abstract: Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is one of the oldest known edible fruits and more and more it arouse interest of scientific community given its numerous biological activities. However, information about its genetic resources and characterization using reliable molecular markers are still scarce. In the present study, we report the development of 4 new polymorphic SSR markers. They have been used in addition to 11 SSRs previously published to investigate molecular diversity of 33 P. granatum ecotypes. Based on the multi-locus profiles, twenty-two distinctive genotypes were identified. Globally, quite low genetic diversity has been revealed, as measured by allele richness (2.83 per locus) and heterozygosity (He = 0.245; Ho = 0.243), reflecting the narrow genetic background of the plant material. Four synonymous groups could be detected involving 15 accessions. Results of ordination and cluster analysis suggested that almost all the Tunisian cultivars share similar genetic background, and are likely derived from a small number of introductions in ancient times. Results issued from this study provide essential information to project a pomegranate core-collection without plant material duplication and for sustainable management of pomegranate landraces at national and international level. Furthermore, these SSR markers are powerful tool for marker assisted selection (MAS) program and for QTL studies.