The Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center (OPGC) maintains a collection of herbaceous ornamental plants in order to protect future breeders from a loss of genetic diversity. The current Pelargonium collection includes ≈870 accessions. Our preliminary studies showed that TRAP (Target Region Amplified Polymorphism) has promise for analyzing the variation in our collection, and so we have expanded the study to analyze the entire Pelargonium collection. We have used the same primers for this screening of the Pelargonium collection as were used on sunflowers, and TRAP results run on a sequencing gel showed 90–150 bands that segregate the population into groups of similar accessions. In order to facilitate analysis of OPGC's large population, we have converted the method to a high throughput technique that efficiently analyzed the entire population. We used a 96-well DNA extraction kit from Qiagen that produced high quality DNA in spite of the high phenol levels in some Pelargonium species. Also, the use of labeled primers allowed analysis of the gels to be aided by a computer. These results produce a categorization of the collection that, combined with morphology and taxonomy, will form the basis for future studies that will use target genes specific to Pelargonium.
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