Molecular characterization of the USDA white clover (Trifolium repens L.) core collection by RAPD markers

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White clover is one of the most important forage legume species worldwide, playing an important role in Southern Brazil temperate cultivated pastures. This work was aimed to characterize the genetic variability of the USDA white clover core collection formed by 78 accessions representing 50 countries, together with two very well known cultivars (Huia and Ladino Regal), using RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA) markers to produce genetic fingerprints. There were used DNA bulks formed by the extraction and mixture of 20 random individuals from each accession. Twenty four primers were used, which revealed from 3 to 29 bands, forming a total of 371 polymorphic bans and only one monomorphic, ranging from 50 to 3098 bp. The results showed a genetic similarity among the accessions, ranging from 0.18 to 0.58 (Jaccard's index), with an average of 0.24, allowing the identification of each individual accession using just three primers. The results also showed a large genetic variability within the white clover core collection, probably due to its reproduction mode and ploidy level, which could be used in plant breeding program.

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