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Genetic diversity in African cucumber (Cucumis sativus L

Author(s): Mliki A, Staub JE, Zhangyong S, Ghorbel A


Genetic diversity among 26 cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. var. sativus) accessions from five African countries [Algeria (1), Egypt (21), Ethiopia (2), Kenya (1), and Libya (1)] present in the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) were examined by assessing variation at 71 polymorphic random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) loci. Genetic distances (GD; simple matching coefficient) were estimated among these African accessions and a reference array (RA) of 21 accessions representative of the genetic variation in cucumber. GD among African accessions ranged between 0.41 and 0.97. GD among accessions in the reference array ranged between 0.36 and 0.88. Multivariate analysis identified three distinct groupings (1–3) of African accessions; Group 1 contained 21 accessions (Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya), Group 2 consisted of two accessions (Kenya, Algeria), and Group 3 possessed three accessions (Egypt). These groupings were distinct from each other (P > 0.001). Accessions in Group 1 differed genetically from all other accessions examined (P > 0.01), and accessions in Groups 2 and 3 were uniquely associated with several RA accessions. While GD among accessions in Group 1 ranged between 0.52 and 0.90, distances among Group 2 accessions varied between 0.93 and 0.97. The GD between the two accessions in Group 3 was 0.65. An accession from Syria (PI 181874) and from one Turkey (PI 199383) were genetically more similar to accessions in Group 1 than to other accessions in the RA. Likewise, accessions in Group 2 were genetically similar to two RA accessions from China and a European glasshouse cucumber line, and Group 3 accessions showed genetic affinities with the U.S. market class cultivar Dasher II. Data suggest that some Egyptian accessions (Group 1) possess unique genetic variation, that this germplasm has potential for broadening the genetic base of commerical cucumber, and that further collection of African germplasm is likely to enhance genetic diversity of cucumber in NPGS.

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