Genomic Diversity within Taxus cuspidata var. nana Revealed by Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Markers

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Taxus cuspidata var. nana is a cultivated variety of Taxus cuspidata and contains taxol, a valuable secondary metabolite of medical importance, both in their stems and leaves. In this paper, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were used to assess the genomic diversity of individual plants within T. cuspidata population. Seventy-four randomly selected plants were analyzed by 29 selected primers among which 25 primers produced polymorphic banding patterns. The coefficient of similarity among the plants ranged from 0.30 to 1.00 with a mean of 0.605. Our results showed that a surprisingly high level of genomic diversity existed within T. cuspidata, and RAPD markers were effective in revealing the diversity. Cluster analysis divided the plants into two groups. This data, when taken together with earlier findings showing variation in taxol content within a natural population of T. cuspidata, suggests a tantalizing possibility for selecting genomically homogeneous T. cuspidata plant lines with elevated and stable taxol content.

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