Genetic variation among pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] cultivars was studied using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. Using a combination of primers, a unique fingerprint was produced for each of the pecan genotypes studied. The genetic relatedness between 44 cultivars was estimated using more than 100 RAPD markers. Genetic distances based on the simple matching coefficient varied from 0.91 to 0.59. The phenetic dendogram developed from cluster analysis showed relatively weak grouping association. However, cultivars with known pedigrees usually grouped with at least one of the parents and genetic similarity estimates appear to agree with known genetic relationships. Using RAPD information in determining genetic relationships among pecan cultivars with unknown or questionable pedigrees and the integration of that knowledge into the breeding program is discussed.
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