Allozyme Variation and Geographic Differentiation in Pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal]

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  • 1 Land-Grant Program, Atwood Research Facility, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY 40601-2355

The pawpaw is the largest tree fruit native to the United States and the only temperate member of the tropical Custard Apple family (Annonaceae). In 1995, Kentucky State Univ. was established as the USDA-ARS-National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Asimina spp. Seedling trees from 400 pawpaw accessions representing 70 distinct geographic regions from 17 states are currently being grown at our research farm. In a preliminary study, 18 pawpaw cultivars were assayed in 30 enzyme systems using an isoelectric focusing polyacrylamide slab gel system of pH 4-9. Twelve enzymes produced high resolution without tissue specificity and were further used for evaluation of allozyme diversity of geographic populations. Degree of genetic diversity within populations and differentiation between populations as evaluated by the expected heterozygosity (He), the proportion of polymorphic loci (P), the average number of alleles per locus (A), chi-squared analysis of allele frequency heterogeneity, Nei's standard genetic distance (D), and identity (I) will be discussed. Dendrograms were generated by cluster analysis using the unweighted pair group method to demonstrate the relationships of geographic populations in the 17 states evaluated. The strategy for germplasm conservation and cultivar development through breeding will also be discussed.

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