Polymorphisms of 21 date cultivars (Phoenix dactylifera L.) in California were determined by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis with near infrared fluorescence labeled primers. Four primer sets were used to detect polymorphisms. Based on the UPGMA-cluster analysis of 328 polymorphic bands, the majority of the cultivars was separated into two major groups. Cultivars Abada, Amir Hajj, Ashrasi, Bentamoda, Boyer No. 11, Deglet Beida, Horra, Javis No. 1, Khadrawy, and Thoory belonged to group I. Cultivars Badrayah, Dayri, Halawy, Haziz, Khir, Medjool, Sayer, and Zahidi belonged to group II. Cultivars Barhee and Deglet Noor were further separated from groups I and II. `Hayany' was distinct from all other date cultivars tested. These results demonstrated that AFLP markers could efficiently identify individual date cultivars. The information will be useful for future date germplasm collection and facilitated selection of diverse parents for cross hybridization in a breeding program.
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