Evaluation of Iranian pomegranate collection using simple sequence repeat and morphological traits


1 Department of Agricultural Science, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Biotechnology Research and Development Center, Tarbiat Modares University,Tehran, Iran.

3 Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran.

4 Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran.


Pomegranate, Punica granatum L., is one of the oldest cultivated fruit species. This study used morphological data and a set of simple sequence repeat markers to investigategenetic diversity among 202 Iranian pomegranate accessions during the 2010 and 2011 growing seasons at Saveh Research Station, Saveh, Iran. Principal component analysis showed that leaf traits were predominant in the first and second component during both years, indicating that these traits are not only useful in assessing genetic diversity, but also for characterizing pomegranate germplasm. There was high correlation between the length of style and flower shape, implying that these traits are directly associated with tree performance. There was also close correlation between leaf length with leaf width, and total leaf length as well as and flower traits such as flower diameter and width. Twenty-three alleles (ranging from two to nine per locus) were detected using seven SSR markers with ABRII-MO26 showing the highest level of polymorphism. The average expected heterozygosity and mean PIC values were 0.36 and 0.34, respectively.Cluster analysis showed a simple matching coefficient ranging from 0.24 to 1 indicating high genetic diversity. Punica microsatellite markers and morphological characters revealed a relatively high genetic diversity among 202 pomegranate accessions. This great variation in the pomegranate collection of Saveh Research Station ensures the future of pomegranate breeding programs in Iran. Strategic research on the base collection and characterization of accessions provides useful information to breeding programs and will enhance the development of core collections.


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