Microsatellite or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers show many characteristics of the ideal molecular marker, and recent studies have shown that loci developed in one species may allow analysis in taxonomically related species. In this study, 52 primer pairs developed in two oak species—Quercus robur L. and Quercus petraea (Matt.) Lieb.—were used to amplify DNA of 5 chestnut cultivars; 28 of them yielded amplicons and 12 polymorphic loci were selected and used to fingerprint 12 european chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) cultivars grown in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 3 to 8, mean expected heterozygosity was 0.592 (range: 0.288 to 0.868), and mean observed heterozygosity was 0.667 (range: 0.333 to 1.000). The results demonstrate the usefulness of some SSR markers isolated in Quercus for the fingerprinting and genetic mapping of Castanea cultivars.
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