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- Author or Editor: Veronica L. DeBoer x
The genus Rheum L., commonly known as rhubarb, is composed of ≈60 species, primarily distributed throughout northern and central Asia. Rhubarb species have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years; however, it was not until the 18th century that the culinary use of petioles was first reported. Although the origin(s) of culinary rhubarb is not clear, it is thought that they originated from hybridization of rhubarb species originally brought to Europe for medicinal purposes. Most rhubarb cultivars lack pedigree information, and the genetic relationship among cultivars is largely unknown. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were generated for fingerprint analysis of 37 cultivars and four putative Rheum species accessions. Ten EcoRI and MseI primer combinations were analyzed for a total of 1400 scored polymorphisms, with an average of 140 polymorphisms per primer combination. Results show at least two clusters of related cultivars, as well as distantly related accessions. This study provides an estimate of rhubarb cultivar genetic diversity using AFLP analysis.