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The use of protein profiles and isozyme banding patterns as genetic markers in cultivated Opuntia species was investigated using SDS-PAGE and spectrophotometric analysis of seeds and stem (cladode) tissues. Twenty morphologically different entries belonging to six Opuntia species were analyzed for total protein profile and three enzyme systems (superoxide dismustase [SOD], phosphoglucomutase [PGM] and UDPG ppase). Seed proteins, mostly low molecular weights, were 3-fold that of cladode proteins. Marked differences in protein molecular weight were found among the entries. PGM activity, found only in the cladode tissues, differred among the entries. No UDPG ppase activity was found in either seeds or cladode tissues. Within the entries surveyed, identical SOD banding patterns were observed indicating some degree of similarity among the species. The preliminary results suggest that isozyme and protein profiles can be used as markers in genetic studies of cultivated Opuntia species.

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