Molecular markers were used to assess genetic diversity in basil (Ocimum L. spp., Lamiaceae). Using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis, 11 primers generated 98 polymorphic bands, ranging from 300 to 2,000 base pairs, that discriminated among 37 accessions across nine Ocimum spp. Means of genetic similarities within Ocimum spp. showed that the domesticated species, O. minimum L. (0.887), O. basilicum L. (0.769), and O. ×citriodorum Vis. (0.711) had highest similarity indices within species, while the nondomesticated, O. americanum L. (0.580), O. gratissimum L. (0.408), and O. kilimandscharicum Guerke (0.559) showed the lowest similarity. RAPD results indicated that O. minimum should not be considered a distinct species but rather a variety of O. basilicum. Consistent clusters among all but one of the O. ×citriodorum spp., all containing citral as the major constituent, were identified using bootstrap analysis. RAPD analysis was useful in discriminating among Ocimum spp., although within species resolution will require a higher number of polymorphic bands.
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