Simple sequence repeat (SSR) and sequence related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) molecular markers were evaluated for detecting intraspecific variation in 38 commercially important peach and nectarine (Prunus persica) cultivars. Out of the 20 SSR primer pairs 17 were previously developed in sweet cherry and three in peach. The number of putative alleles revealed by SSR primer pairs ranged from one to five showing a low level of genetic variability among these cultivars. The average number of alleles per locus was 2.2. About 76% of cherry primers produced amplification products in peach and nectarine, showing a congeneric relationship within Prunus species. Only nine cultivars out of the 38 cultivars could be uniquely identified by the SSR markers. For SRAP, the number of fragments produced was highly variable, ranging from 10 to 33 with an average of 21.8 per primer combination. Ten primer combinations resulted in 49 polymorphic fragments in this closely related set of peaches and nectarines. Thirty out of the 38 peach and nectarine cultivars were identified by unique SRAP fingerprints. UPGMA Cluster analysis based on the SSR and SRAP polymorphic fragments was performed; the relationships inferred are discussed with reference to the pomological characteristics and pedigree of these cultivars. The results indicated that SSR and SRAP markers can be used to distinguish the genetically very close peach and nectarine cultivars as a complement to traditional pomological studies. However, for fingerprinting, SRAP markers appear to be much more effective, quicker and less expensive to develop than are SSR markers.
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