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Genetic diversity and structure in Tunisian wild cherries and cultivated sweet cherries revealed by SSR markers

Author(s): Azizi-Gannouni Thouraya, Ammari Youssef, Mnasri Rahmani Sameh, Ben Naceur M’barek, Albouchi Ali

Wild cherries are concentrated at high altitudes in northern Tunisia and cultivated sweet cherries are well adapted to low altitudes. This study aims to compare local wild and cultivated sweet cherries (Prunus avium L.) in the northern of Tunisia. To elucidate genetic variation of 21 cultivated sweet cherries (one landrace and 20 foreigner cultivars) and 4 local wild sweet cherries, we used 16 SSR (Simple Sequence Repeat) loci markers. Results showed a significant reduction of genetic diversity parameters in the cultivated germplasms compared to wild populations. The average number of alleles per locus was 8.188 alleles per locus for the 21 cultivated sweet cherries and 3.68 alleles per locus for the 4 wild sweet cherries. The average value of genetic differentiation of population (FST) over all loci revealed a low genetic differentiation (FST = 0.04) between Tunisian wild and cultivated sweet cherry groups. The UPGMA (Unweighted Pair-Group Method Analysis) dendrogram and genetic population structure showed that Tunisian wild sweet cherries presented high genetic variability since they belong to different clusters and consequently could be considered as a potential source of germoplasm to be exploited in sweet cherry