Evaluation of Genetic Diversity of Iranian Pomegranate Cultivars Using Fruit Morphological Characteristics and AFLP Markers

The present research evaluated the diversity of a number of Iranian pomegranate cultivars using fruit morphological characteristics and AFLP markers. Thirty-one pomegranate cultivars were collected from Yazd Pomegranate Collection in Iran to study their diversity. Seven AFLP primer combinations were used to amplify a total of 112 polymorphic fragments (47.26%). By use of AFLPs, a low genetic diversity level was detected among cultivars. The relationship between fruit characteristics was analyzed using the principal component analysis (PCA). The cluster analysis based on both fruit characteristics and AFLP data indicated that cultivars were not grouped according to their geographic origins. Moreover, the correlation between the diversity matrix based on fruit characteristics and Dice’s genetic similarity coefficient was insignificant (r=0.06). The results obtained from this study can improve the conservation and management of pomegranate germplasm resources and could be helpful in optimizing breeding programs.

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