Twelve, 10-base primers amplified a total of 20 intense and easily scorable polymorphic bands in an interspecific cross of PPF1-5 pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal.] × RET (Asimina reticulata Shuttlew.). In this cross, all bands scored were present in, and inherited from, the A. triloba parent PPF1-5. Nineteen of the 20 bands were found to segregate as expected (1:1 or 3:1) based on chi-square goodness-of-fit tests, and were subsequently used to evaluate genetic diversity in populations of A. triloba collected from six states (Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, and West Virginia) within its natural range. Analysis of genetic diversity of the populations revealed that the mean number of alleles per locus was A = 1.64, percent polymorphic loci was P = 64, and expected heterozygosity was He = 0.25. No significant differences were found among populations for any of the polymorphic indices. Partitioning of the population genetic diversity showed that the average genetic diversity within populations was Hs = 0.26, accounting for 72% of the total genetic diversity. Genetic diversity among populations was Dst = 0.10, accounting for 28% of the total genetic diversity. Nei's genetic identity and distance showed a high mean identity of 0.86 between populations. Genetic relationships among the populations examined by unweighted pair-group mean clustering analysis separated the six populations into two primary clusters: one composed of Georgia, Maryland, and New York, and the other composed of Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia. The Georgia and Indiana populations were further separated from the other populations within each group. This study provides additional evidence that marginal populations within the natural range of A. triloba should be included in future collection efforts to capture most of the rare and local alleles responsible for this differentiation.
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