Genetic Differentiation in Moroccan <i>Opuntia ficus-indica</i> Cultivars Using Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) Markers
Estimation of genetic parameters at SSR loci can be applied for assessing the differences between cultivars or populations, either for variety distinction or the management of genetic resources. In this study, 13 Opuntia ficus-indica cultivars were analyzed using 10 SSR markers selected for studying the genetic diversity among these chosen cultivars. Over the 10 SSR markers, a total of 45 reproducible bands were scored with an average of 4.5 alleles/locus, while the observed heterozygosity (Ho) values of amplified loci ranged from 0.15 (SSR1) to 0.92 (SSR2 and SSR 11). Genetic distance analysis of the 13 cultivars showed a large genetic differentiation (GST = 0.47) and high number of different groups. Most of the accessions were not found to be clustered according to their eco-geographical origin. In addition, each cultivar was characterized by its own multiallelic combination between loci. The results revealed the usefulness of SSR in understanding of genetic diversity in Moroccans Barbary fig cultivars, thus being helpful to set up rational decisions concerning the establishment of a national reference collection.
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