Diversity of Low Chill Peaches (Prunus persica) from Asia, Brazil, Europe and the USA



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One hundred fifty-five peach (Prunus persica) cultivars, from Asia, Brazil, Europe, and the USA, were examined using eleven Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs) to study the genetic relationships among low chill as compared to high chill peach germplasm. Data was analyzed by NTSYSpc to form a similarity matrix using Nei and Li?s Dice similarity coefficient. This similarity matrix was then subjected to a cluster analysis and a dendrogram was constructed using the UPGMA (Unweighted Pair-Group Method, Arithmetic Mean) method. A wide range of diversity was detected, from 0.33 coefficient of similarity amongst the Thai peaches to 0.97 between two Brazilian peaches. The most distant clusters were the low chill peaches from Thailand and Taiwan and the local cultivars (both fruit and ornamental types) from China. Among the improved germplasm, there were distinct clusters for the Chinese/Japanese cultivars, three clusters for the Brazilian cultivars and one for the cultivars from the USA and Europe. The Brazilian materials clustered according to breeding programs in S?o Paulo and Pelotas reflecting the different sets of local cultivars used in the breeding efforts. The largest group investigated was the European/USA peaches. This group subdivided into three distinct clusters, with a general clustering of the low chill germplasm. The low chill accessions from Asia were genetically distant from the improved low chill peaches from the USA or Brazil. The low chill peaches from the Americas were more closely related to the high chill peaches developed in the USA and China/Japan due to the introgression of this germplasm into a low chill background.