Aim: The Caucasus is considered as a possible primary centre of origin of grapevine. The aim of our research work was to study genetic diversity among cultivated Caucasian grape varieties and wild relatives originating from Near-Caspian areas of Azerbaijan on the basis of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers.
Methods and Results: Microsatellite allele data obtained in 31 local table grape varieties of Vitis vinifera L. ssp. sativa (Absheron region) and 34 wild varieties of Vitis vinifera L. ssp. sylvestris (Nabran, Davachi and Guba regions) were used to estimate population genetic parameters such as the polymorphism information content (PIC), the probability of identity (PI) and the frequency of null alleles (r). The genetic differences among the wild populations and between the wild and the cultivated gene pools were assessed using POPGENE, Arlequin and GENETIX programs. The selected fifteen microsatellite (SSR) markers revealed a high degree of polymorphism within and among the grape populations analyzed. The genetic similarity index ranged from 0.02 to 0.933.
Conclusions: Among the selected markers, VVMD28 and VVMD36 displayed the highest diversity level regarding the expected heterozygosity and PIC (highest values) and PI (lowest values). In consequence, we postulate that these two markers are the most appropriate ones for the identification of grape accession and the determination of genetic diversity among cultivated and wild grape genotypes. Clustering analysis based on SSR markers data led to a good separation between cultivated and wild accessions and between wild accessions originating from different regions.
Significance and impact of the study: The fifteen microsatellite markers used in this study were highly informative for the identification and analysis of genetic structure of Azerbaijan grapevine populations and clarified the relationships among grape accessions.
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