Research Article

DNA variation and polymorphism in Tunisian plum species (Prunus spp): contribution of flow cytometry and molecular markers

Published: December 22, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (4) : 18034-18046 DOI: 10.4238/2015.December.22.30

Abstract

Plums (Prunus spp) are among the most important stone fruit crops in the world. European (Prunus domestica) and Japanese (Prunus salicina) plums are characterized by different levels of ploidy. Because genetic variability is the prerequisite for any plant-breeding program, we aimed to establish the taxonomic status of Tunisian plums and study their genetic variability. The nuclear DNA content of 45 wild and cultivated Tunisian plums was determined by flow cytometry. Two arbitrary primers (AD10, AD17) were used to elaborate SCAR markers useful to identify plum species. Three wild trees, Zenou 1, Zenou 6, and Zenou 3, which had 2C nuclear DNA contents of 1.99, 2.05, and 2.13 pg, were shown to be hexaploid (2n = 6x = 48), whereas the others were diploid (2n = 2x = 16). These results suggest that the three hexaploid wild plums belong to Prunus insititia, and the others belong to Prunus salicina. No SCAR markers were revealed using the AD10 and AD17 RAPD primers in relation to the ploidy of plums. We note also that AD17 primer appears to be the most informative concerning the genetic diversity. Morphological and pomological traits revealed similarity between introduced and Tunisian plum cultivars. Despite the significant morphological differences found, all the cultivars studied belong to P. salicina. The information obtained in this analysis provided on local plum genetic resources will be helpful to establish a core collection, to evaluate genetic diversity, and to initiate an improvement and selection program.

Plums (Prunus spp) are among the most important stone fruit crops in the world. European (Prunus domestica) and Japanese (Prunus salicina) plums are characterized by different levels of ploidy. Because genetic variability is the prerequisite for any plant-breeding program, we aimed to establish the taxonomic status of Tunisian plums and study their genetic variability. The nuclear DNA content of 45 wild and cultivated Tunisian plums was determined by flow cytometry. Two arbitrary primers (AD10, AD17) were used to elaborate SCAR markers useful to identify plum species. Three wild trees, Zenou 1, Zenou 6, and Zenou 3, which had 2C nuclear DNA contents of 1.99, 2.05, and 2.13 pg, were shown to be hexaploid (2n = 6x = 48), whereas the others were diploid (2n = 2x = 16). These results suggest that the three hexaploid wild plums belong to Prunus insititia, and the others belong to Prunus salicina. No SCAR markers were revealed using the AD10 and AD17 RAPD primers in relation to the ploidy of plums. We note also that AD17 primer appears to be the most informative concerning the genetic diversity. Morphological and pomological traits revealed similarity between introduced and Tunisian plum cultivars. Despite the significant morphological differences found, all the cultivars studied belong to P. salicina. The information obtained in this analysis provided on local plum genetic resources will be helpful to establish a core collection, to evaluate genetic diversity, and to initiate an improvement and selection program.