Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) were used to analyze the relationships between sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars and selections from the breeding program at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, Canada. Six pairs of preselected primers were used for the analysis of a total of 67 cultivars and selections. Scoring the absence and presence of 118 polymorphic DNA fragments produced a unique binary code for each cultivar and selection. Two phylogenetic trees were constructed using these 118 polymorphic fragments, one tree for 55 related cultivars and selections from the Summerland breeding program and the other for 23 self-incompatible cultivars of differing origins. The reliability of AFLP DNA fingerprints was confirmed by correlating relationships revealed by AFLP profiles with known genetic relationships of some sweet cherry cultivars and by a blind test for cultivar identification. Results indicate that AFLP analysis is a good technique to evaluate genetic distance and relationships in a sweet cherry breeding population.
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