Assessment of genetic structure and variation of cultured and wild Berberis populations of Khorasan provinces located in Iran using AFLP markers

Document Type : Research Article




Seedless barberry (Berberis vulgaris L. var. asperma) is one of the few crops that is cultured only in Iran and southern parts of Khorasan provinces. The Origin of this variety is unknown and there has not been any study aiming to identify phylogenic relationships of this plant with other species existing in Iran. In this study, AFLP markers based on four primer combinations (EcoRI/Tru1I) were used to evaluate genetic variation and Phylogenic relationship among 30 different samples of wild and cultured barberry belonging to Khorasan provinces namely: Shomali (north), Razavi and Jonubi (south), together with 2 species of ornamental barberry and one sample Mahonia aquifolium. Data resulted from cluster analysis, showed that these two genera (Berberis and Mahonia) form 2 completely distinct groups with a significant genetic distance. These results can clarify the ambiguity of separation procedure between Mahonia and Berberis genera. Heterozygosity index, Principal co-ordinates analysis (PCoA), Fst Index and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed significant difference among wild barberry populations existing in Khorasan provinces; so that, as was expected, observed variation within cultured barberry population was very low and near zero. The results also showed that Berberis integerrima is the predominant species in Khorasan provinces. Therefore further molecular and morphological investigations aiming better understanding of the relationships between species and genera of Berberis family looks necessary.

Key words: Berberis, AFLP, Genetic diversity