Analysis of Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium L.) Cultivars Using SSR and AFLP Markers

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and amplified fragment-length polymorphisms (AFLPs) were used to evaluate sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars using quality DNA extracted from fruit flesh and leaves. SSR markers were developed from a phage library using genomic DNA of the sweet cherry cultivar Valerij Tschkalov. Microsatellite containing clones were sequenced and 15 specific PCR primers were selected for identification of cultivars in sweet cherry and for cross-species amplification in Prunus. In total, 48 alleles were detected by 15 SSR primer pairs, with an average of 3.2 putative alleles per primer combination. The number of putative alleles ranged from one to five in the tested cherry cultivars. Forty polymorphic fragments were scored in the tested cherry cultivars by 15 SSRs. All sweet cherry cultivars were identified by SSRs from their unique fingerprints. We also demonstrated that the technique of using DNA from fruit flesh for analysis can be used to maintain product purity in the market place by comparing DNA fingerprints from 12 samples of `Bing' fruit collected from different grocery stores in the United States to that of a standard `Bing' cultivar. Results indicated that, with one exception, all `Bing'samples were similar to the standard. Amplification of more than 80% of the sweet cherry primer pairs in plum (P. salicina), apricot (P. armeniaca) and peach (P. persica L.) showed a congeneric relationship within Prunus species. A total of 63 (21%) polymorphic fragments were recorded in 15 sweet cherry cultivars using four EcoRI-MseI AFLP primer combinations. AFLP markers generated unique fingerprints for all sweet cherry cultivars. SSRs and AFLP polymorphic fragments were used to calculate a similarity matrix and to perform UPGMA cluster analysis. Most of the cultivars were grouped according to their pedigree. The SSR and AFLP molecular markers can be used for the grouping and identification of sweet cherry cultivars as a complement to pomological studies. The new SSRs developed here could be used in cherry as well as in other Prunus species for linkage mapping, evolutionary and taxonomic study.

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