Highly polymorphic DNA markers were identified in sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) using PCR amplification and arbitrary primers. More than 100 accessions representing US cultivars and their progenitors, and germplasm lines from around the world were analyzed. Sweetpotato germplasm exhibited high genetic variability and individual-specific profiles were obtained for all accessions. US cultivars formed a tight cluster in the principal coordinate analysis suggesting a narrow genetic base. The genetic relationship data of US cultivars and their progenitors based on DNA polymorphisms was in agreement with their known pedigree. The putative paternal parents of certain cultivars selected through open pollination were identified based on shared polymorphisms. The PCR-based markers are valuable in the characterization of sweetpotato germplasm and in ensuring a broad genetic base for future cultivars.
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