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Genetic characterization of fig tree mutants with molecular markers

Author(s): M.G.F. Rodrigues, A.B.G. Martins, J.A. Desidério, B.W. Bertoni and M.C. Alves

The fig (Ficus carica L.) is a fruit tree of great world importance and, therefore, the genetic improvement becomes an important field of research for better crops, being necessary to gather information on this species, mainly regarding its genetic variability so that appropriate propagation projects and management are made. The improvement programs of fig trees using conventional procedures in order to obtain new cultivars are rare in many countries, such as Brazil, especially due to the little genetic variability and to the difficulties in obtaining plants from gamete fusion once the wasp Blastophaga psenes, responsible for the natural pollinating, is not found in Brazil. In this way, the mutagenic genetic improvement becomes a solution of it. For this reason, in an experiment conducted earlier, fig plants formed by cuttings treated with gamma ray were selected based on their agronomic characteristics of interest. We determined the genetic variability in these fig tree selections, using RAPD and AFLP molecular markers, comparing them to each other and to the Roxo-de-Valinhos, used as the standard. For the reactions of DNA amplification, 140 RAPD primers and 12 primer combinations for AFLP analysis were used. The selections did not differ genetically between themselves and between them and the Roxo-de-Valinhos cultivar. Techniques that can detect polymorphism between treatments, such as DNA sequencing, must be tested. The phenotypic variation of plants may be due to epigenetic variation, necessitating the use of techniques with methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes.