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A comparison of RAPD and isozyme analyses for determining the genetic relationships among Avena sterilis L. accessions

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Isozyme analysis is a valuable tool for determining genetic relationships among breeding lines and populations. The recently developed DNA technologies which can assay a greater proportion of the plant genome are providing a plentiful array of additional genomic markers. The objective of this research was to compare random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) versus isozyme-based estimation of relationships among 24 accessions of a hexaploid wild oat, Avena sterilis L. The accessions were evaluated for variation in 23 enzyme systems and by 21 10-mer primers. A total of 77 polymorphic isozyme bands and 115 polymorphic RAPD bands were observed. Two matrices of genetic distances were estimated based on band presence/ absence. These matrices were subsequently utilized in cluster analysis and principal coordinate analysis. Both isozymes and RAPDs were proficient at distinguishing between the 24 accessions. The correspondence between the elements of both distance matrices was moderate (r=0.36**). Nevertheless, the overall representation of relationships among accessions by cluster analysis and ordination was in considerable agreement. The two techniques contrasted most notably in pair-by-pair comparisons of relationships. RAPD analysis resulted in a more definitive separation of clusters of accessions. The most significant impact of the DNA-based markers probably will be the more accurate determination of relationships between accessions that are too close to be accurately differentiated by isozymes.

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The research reported in this publication was funded by the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and by a Heisenberg Fellowship (HE 1497/3-2) provided by the German Research Council to Manfred Heun

Communicated by K. Tsunewaki

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Heun, M., Murphy, J.P. & Phillips, T.D. A comparison of RAPD and isozyme analyses for determining the genetic relationships among Avena sterilis L. accessions. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 87, 689–696 (1994).

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Key words

  • Cluster analysis
  • Principal coordinate analysis
  • Oat
  • Wild germ plasm
  • Molecular marker