The genus Asparagus is very large consisting of around 150 species found as herbaceous perennials, tender woody shrubs and vines. The cultivated species (Asparagus ofﬁcinalis L., diploid) is a highly prized vegetable, grown in different environments ranging from cool temperate zones to deserts, Mediterranean climates and tropical areas. As a consequence, Asparagus breeders have developed different cultivars that differ for their morpho-agronomic traits, habit and ploidic status (few triploid and tetraploid cultivars are used). Several breeding methods are used for developing cultivars, among which a well developed in vitro anther culture technique produces homozygous clones useful for F1 hybrids constitution. A ﬂuorescent based AFLP (ampliﬁed fragment length polymorphism) technique were applied with the aim to assess genetic diversity among a collection of 173 doubled haploid (DH) androgenetic clones, ﬁve Asparagus wild species and interspeciﬁc hybrids obtained among the cultivated species and two wild relatives. The average number of AFLP fragments generated per primer set was 105, varying in size from 50 to 550 bp. A total of 1054 AFLP fragments were detected, 20% of which were polymorphic. Genetic similarity based on DNA polymorphisms, showed that a few number of AFLP primer combinations are able to distinguish the cultivated DH clones from the wild species. Indeed, from one DH clone for each anther donors and the wild species were used to construct a dendrogram using Dice’s coefﬁcient and the unweighted pair group method with the arithmetic mean (UPGMA). Genetic distances among all DH clones were calculated using the C.S. Chord distance; and a neighbour-joining (NJ) consensus tree was constructed in order to support the breeder for parental genotype choice for asparagus hybrid constitution. These results represent the ﬁrst study on the genetic relationships among several DH clones from a large collection useful for supporting breeding programs as well as among cultivated DH clones group, wild species and interspeciﬁc hybrids.
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