A simple marker technique called sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) provides a useful tool for estimation of genetic diversity and phenetic relationships in natural and domesticated populations. Previous studies and our initial screen showed SRAP is highly polymorphic and more informative when compared to AFLP, RAPD and SSR markers. In this study, applicability of the SRAP markers to obtain an overview of genetic diversity and phenetic relationships present among cool-season (C3) and warm-season (C4) turfgrass species and their relationship with other Gramineae species were tested. Phenetic trees based on genetic similarities (UPGMA, N-J) were consistent with known taxonomic relationships. In some cases, well-supported relationships as well as evidence by genetic reticulation could be inferred. There was widespread genetic variation among C3 and C4 turfgrass species. In Dice based cophenetic matrix, genetic similarities among all species studied ranged from 0.08 to 0.94, whereas in Jaccard based cophenetic matrix, genetic similarities ranged from 0.05 to 0.85. C3 and C4 species were clearly distinguishable and a close relationship between italian ryegrass and tall fescue were obtained based on SRAP. Genome structures of turfgrasses are comparable to other Gramineae species. This research indicates that the SRAP markers are useful for estimating genetic relationships in a wide range of turfgrass species. The SRAP markers identified in this study can provide a useful reference for future turfgrass breeding efforts.
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