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Genetic divergence in elite castor bean lineages based on TRAP markers

Author(s): K.S. Simões, S.A. Silva, E.L. Machado and M.S. Silva

Castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) is a tropical plant of great commercial interest and a potential source of biodiesel. The development of genetically improved cultivars with high amounts of oil in the seeds and low ricin toxicity is crucial to increase the productivity of this crop. The use of TRAP (target region amplification polymorphism) markers to develop elite lineages and study genetic divergence is fundamental to advance the genetic improvement of this species. The goal of this study was to evaluate the genetic divergence among 40 elite lineages of R. communis, which belong to the NBIO-UFRB Genetic Improvement Program, using TRAP markers involved in the biosynthesis of oil and ricin. Total DNA was extracted and quantified from the leaf tissue of the castor bean plants, and 70 TRAP combinations (fixed and arbitrary primers) were used to genotype the 40 lineages. Of the 580 fragments amplified, 335 were polymorphic (58%). The genetic dissimilarity among the lineages was calculated by the Jaccard dissimilarity index using the UPGMA grouping method. A dendrogram was generated, and four groups formed, showing divergence among the elite lineages that favors selection. The TRAP molecular markers were efficient at characterizing the genetic variability among the lineages and, because TRAP markers are functional markers involved in the biosynthesis of oil and ricin, they are important when studying the association between a marker and a candidate gene.