Assessment of genetic relationships between wild and cultivated mulberry (Morus) species using PCR based markers

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In order to formulate appropriate strategies for the conservation and utilization of the wild mulberry genetic resources available in India, a study was undertaken with 20 mulberry genotypes from the four different species. Seventeen intersimple sequence repeat primers were used to generate a total of 114 markers, of which 98 (85.96%) were polymorphic. Seven unique bands for Morus serrata Roxb. and one for both M. serrata Roxb. and Morus macroura Miq. were identified, of which one fragment has been sequenced and deposited in the EMBL-GeneBank (AJ-585512). The genetic dissimilarity coefficients varied from 0.078 to 0.530 among these genotypes and from 0.168 to 0.465 among the species. The dendrograms realized from these markers clustered the genotypes into three groups. The outermost group was M. serrata Roxb., which was followed by the group of M. macroura Miq. and the innermost group contained genotypes of Morus indica L. and Morus alba L. This intermixing of genotypes of M. indica and M. alba supports the view that M. indica is merely a synonym of M. alba. Distribution of the genotypes on a two-dimensional figure upon multidimensional scaling with ALSCAL program, further, confirmed the genetic divergence between the cultivated and wild mulberry groups. On the basis of the results a few potential wild mulberry genotypes were identified for its conservation and utilization in breeding programs to confer the stress tolerance to the cultivated varieties of mulberry.

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