Identification of Prosopis juliflora and Prosopis pallida accessions using molecular markers

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There has been much taxonomic confusion over the identification of Prosopis species, especially where introduced. Prosopis juliflora is the most widespread species in the arid and semi-arid tropics, although it has been confused with other species, particularly the closely related Prosopis pallida. In this study, RAPDs markers were used for the first time to distinguish between these species. Eighteen primers were used in amplification reactions, which yielded an average of 120 bands per accession. A dendrogram showing genetic similarities among accessions was constructed using UPGMA cluster analysis and the Nei and Li similarity coefficient. The genetic similarity observed between P. juliflora and P. pallida is similar to the value in sympatric Prosopis species in North America, and reconsideration of the series rank in section Algarobia is suggested. Species-specific markers confirmed that material in Burkina Faso is P. juliflora, but suggested that material collected in Brazil, Cape Verde and Senegal is P. pallida, whereas this has previously been identified as P. juliflora.

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