Genetic relationships in a germplasm collection of Camellia japonica and Camellia oleifera using SSR analysis.
Camellia japonica produces different color and bigger flowers, widely being used for gardening green in southern China. However, cultivars were introduced from different regions, but their origin and pedigree information is either not available poorly documented, causing problems in authentication. Many low-yield trees in Camellia oleifera forests have been used as stocks for grafting C. japonica. However, the survival rate of grafts between these two species is related to genetic relationship between stock of C. oleifera and scion of C. japonica. We used simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers to genotype 41 C. japonica cultivars from different regions, as well as nine genotypes of C. oleifera in China. Twenty-one SSR markers generated 438 alleles, with an average of 20.85 alleles per locus. All alleles were used to generate Dice coefficients between two genotypes of all genotypes of these two species. Cluster analysis based on SSR data clustered genotypes showed clustering of genotypes into groups that agreed well with their taxonomic classification and geographic origin. Cultivar 'Damaonao' was a large tree with flowers of composite color, and showed the most genetic distance from other C. japonica cultivars and C. oleifera genotypes in the cluster analysis. The cultivars of C. japonica are distinct from genotypes of C. oleifera. The results for cultivars of C. japonica also revealed the presence of different cultivars with the same name, and identical cultivars but with a different name. SSR profiles can improve C. japonica germplasm management, and provide potential determine correlations between genetic relationship and graft compatibility among scions of C. japonica and genotypes of C. oleifera.