Use of RAPD Markers to Assess Genetic Diversity of American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.) Among Wild Populations from the Catskill Mountains of New York State and Other States

in HortScience
Authors:
Wansang Lim*Cornell, Horticulture, Ithaca, NY 14850

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Kenneth MudgeCornell, Horticulture, Ithaca, NY 14850

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The Catskill Mountains of New York are an important source of wild-collected American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium), and increasingly, of woods-cultivated ginseng. The objective of this study was to assess genetic diversity among eight different wild ginseng populations from the Catskill Mountains and to compare Catskill populations to five wild populations from other states including Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and one cultivated population from Wisconsin. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA markers were used to estimate the genetic difference among the 14 populations using PCR amplified nuclear DNA. Fifteen random primers were selected from a total of 64 random decamer primers by screening bulked DNA samples from the eight Catskill populations. These 15 primers were then used to compare 10 plants each from the eight Catskill populations and three to four plants each from the non-Catskill populations. The 15 primers produced 124 polymorphic bands. The genetic distance within and among populations was estimated using the ratio of discordant bands to total bands. Multidimensional scaling of the relation matrix showed separation of Catskill and non-Catskill population clusters. Significant differences between these groups was confirmed using pooled chi-square tests for fragment homogeneity. Although the eight Catskill populations differed from the non Catskill populations, there were no significant differences among the Catskill populations. This study shows that presence and absence of bands can be used as population specific markers for American ginseng. Although these results do not rule out the possibility that there may be some level of genetic differences among Catskill populations, 10 plants per population was not sufficient to establish such differences.

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