Analysis of genetic variability of commercial melon cultivars using SSR molecular markers.
Taking into account the scenario of melon production (Cucumis melo L.) in Brazil, it is notable the importance of the culture in the fruit market. The preference of the national market is concentrated in the fruits of the yellow type. Therefore, it is possible that the genetic base of the commercial cultivars is relatively narrow due to the loss of important genes in the breeding process, and it is possible to introgress external genes for increasing recombination possibilities that generate sources of resistance to the main diseases and superior genotypes. This study evaluated the genetic variability of 87 melon accessions composed of 72 commercial cultivars belonging to the Inodorus and Cantaloupensis groups and 15 plant introductions (PIs). Forty-four polymorphic SSR primers were used to amplify a total of 202 alleles. The expected heterozygosity presented an average of 0.519 and the PIC index of 0.458, being moderately informative. The dendrogram generated for the 72 cultivars grouped the genotypes into 2 main groups, and there was no association with the classification of groups of the genotypes in the grouping. The number of SSR markers was sufficient to predict wide genetic variability among the cultivars studied, with the similarity between 0.35 and 0.98. The dendrogram presented for the 72 cultivars and the 15 PI genotypes was not associated with the classification of the genotypes in the grouping, and the 15 PIs were well dispersed with similarity indexes that resemble the two groups studied. A set of 25 primers was identified that were useful in distinguishing the 72 cultivars. These primers can be used in later research with the cultivars, as well as in crop protection situations, being an important tool in the useful and rapid distinction of genotypes, and in commercial disputes regarding the certification of the main melon cultivars used in the country.