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Research Project: Innovations that Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Managing and Preserving Ex Situ Plant Germplasm Collections

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Title: Genetic relationships between wild progenitor pear (Pyrus L.) species and local cultivars native to Georgia, South Caucasus

Author
item ASANIDZE, ZEZVA - Ilia State University
item AKHALKATSI, MAIA - Ilia State University
item Henk, Adam
item Richards, Christopher
item Volk, Gayle

Submitted to: FLORA
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2014
Publication Date: 9/1/2014
Citation: Asanidze, Z., Akhalkatsi, M., Henk, A.D., Richards, C.M., Volk, G.M. 2014. Genetic relationships between wild progenitor pear (Pyrus L.) species and local cultivars native to Georgia, South Caucasus. Flora. 209(9):504-512. DOI: 10.1016/j.flora.2014.06.013.

Interpretive Summary: In this paper, we compare genetic diversity of Pyrus (pear) extant in wild populations in the country of Georgia with related taxa preserved in the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System collection. P. communis ssp. caucasica from both the NPGS and Georgia, P. communis ssp. pyraster from the NPGS, and P. salicifolia from Georgia could be differentiated based on polymorphisms identified using eleven microsatellite markers. In addition, accessions of P. communis ssp. caucasica from Georgia were genetically distinct from accessions of the same subspecies in the NPGS collection that originated in other European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries. Local pear cultivars in Georgia were genetically similar to wild P. communis ssp. caucasica from Georgia, suggesting that they may have been domesticated from wild progenitors nearby and could serve as unique genetic resources for pear breeding programs.

Technical Abstract: Pyrus communis ssp. caucasica and P. salicifolia are among 11 species of Pyrus that are native to the country of Georgia. We have compared the genetic diversity of these, as well as other Georgian wild pear species and cultivars, to that of wild P. communis in the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) pear collection. P. communis ssp. caucasica from both the NPGS and Georgia, P. communis ssp. pyraster from the NPGS, and P. salicifolia from Georgia were differentiated using eleven microsatellite markers. In addition, accessions of P. communis ssp. caucasica from Georgia were genetically distinct from accessions of the same subspecies in the NPGS collection that originated in other European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries. Local pear cultivars in Georgia were genetically similar to Georgian P. communis ssp. caucasica, suggesting that they may have originated from wild pear species in Georgia and could serve as unique genetic resources for pear breeding programs.