Eight species and 57 selections/cultivars of Penstemon were compared for genetic variability using Random Amplified Polymorphic DNAs (RAPDs). The RAPD technique was used to help understand the genetic relationships in species and cultivars in the genus Penstemon. Ten RAPD primers (from Operon) were screened to identify polymorphisms among these eight species and 57 selections. More than 100 RAPD polymorphic bands were obtained. A principle component analysis was used to study genetic relationships. Variation among species was greater than variation among selections/cultivars within species. RAPD markers distinguished differences between most cultivars tested. DNA fingerprints generated by RAPDs should be useful to distinguish cultivars of Penstemon, as well as to assist in determining genetic relationships between species.
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