A sample of 210 cultivars of Prunus persica (L.) Batsch, with a wide range of fruit and plant characteristics, was studied for variability using nine polymorphic amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) primer combinations. Forty-seven AFLPs allowed identification of 196 (93%) different genotypes, 187 of which could be distinguished with three primer combinations. Eleven cultivars with the same AFLP phenotype corresponded to known somatic mutations (sports), but from the four sports of the `Springcrest' group, two (`Maycrest' and `Queencrest') differed at three AFLPs from the others (`Starcrest' and `Early Maycrest'). Cluster analysis allowed differentiation of most cultivars with nonmelting fruit flesh, generally used for canning, from the melting-flesh peach and nectarine cultivars used for fresh consumption.
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