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Luisa Monte-Corvo, Luis Goulão and Cristina Oliveira

Inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were used for cultivar identification and for determination of the phenetic relationships among 24 pear cultivars (Pyrus communis L.). The ability of several molecular marker systems including randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP), inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR), simple sequence repeats (SSR), and selective amplification of microsatellite polymorphic loci (SAMPL) to detect variation among clones of the most significant Portuguese cultivar, Rocha, was also investigated. Each of the eight ISSR primers tested was able to distinguish the 24 pear cultivars. The ISSR primers generated 337 markers, 79.5% of which were polymorphic. The cultivar dendrogram obtained with the ISSR marker data was very similar to that obtained with previous RAPD+AFLP analysis, confirming the genetic divergence of `Pérola', `Carvalhal' and `Lawson' from the other cultivars. Eight out of 15 apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] SSR primers tested also amplified microsatellites in pear. None of the five molecular marker systems analyzed (with a total of 1082 markers) detected reproducible polymorphisms among the nine `Rocha' clones, in spite of the presence of clear phenotypic differences.

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Luís Goulão, Luisa Monte-Corvo and Cristina M. Oliveira

Variability of commercial plum (Prunus L. sp.) cultivars is unknown since breeding often involves intercrossing hybrids with several species but has been based on a low number of parents. Molecular markers like amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) and inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR), which sample multiple loci simultaneously, have become increasingly popular, and were used to characterize 24 diploid and four hexaploid cultivars of plum. Seven AFLP and six ISSR primers were used, and resulted in amplification of 379 and 270 products, respectively. Unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) dendrograms, based on similarity coefficients, reflected a clear separation between diploid and hexaploid plums. Among diploid plums, two pairs of cultivars were relatively distinct from the rest, namely `Golden Japan' and `Methley' and `Ozark Premier' and `Songold'. Furthermore, several cultivars were grouped together both with AFLP and ISSR analysis: 1) `Ambra', `Red Beaut', and `Black Beaut', 2) `Black Diamond' and `Royal Diamond', 3) `June Rose', `Santa Rosa', and `Royal Red', and iv) `Freedom', `Larry Ann', and `Queen Rosa'. Although the phenetic classification obtained by the two methods were similar (r = 0.73, for the diploid group), ISSR had a higher reproducibility and percentage of polymorphisms (87.4% vs. 62.8%) than AFLP. Methodological aspects of both markers systems are discussed. Results obtained suggest that the AFLP and ISSR approaches are valuable tools for identification of specific genotypes and analysis of phenetic relationships in plum.