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Scientia Agricola

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DAHER, Rogério Figueiredo; PEREIRA, Messias Gonzaga; PEREIRA, Antônio Vander  and  AMARAL JR., Antônio Teixeira do. Genetic divergence among elephantgrass cultivars assessed by RAPD markers in composit samples. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2002, vol.59, n.4, pp.623-627. ISSN 1678-992X.

Elephantgrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) is native to regions of tropical Africa and was introduced in Brazil around 1920 through plantings imported from Cuba. It is currently one of the most widespread forage plants throughout the country. At first, there were two cultivars, Napier and Mercker, with well defined characteristics. New genotypes arose and it is believed that the large number of cultivars existing today in germplasm bank is due to duplicates. DNA markers for cultivar characterization are a very valuable tool, especially in situations where morphological and isoenzymatic markers have already been used as in the case of elephantgrass. Thus RAPD markers were used to estimate the genetic divergence among the Napier group elephantgrass cultivars from the elephantgrass Active Germplasm Bank at EMBRAPA Dairy Cattle. The polymerase chain reaction with 37 arbitrary primers from the OPERON Technologies series supplied 94 polymorphic and 73 monomorphic bands. From the matrix of complement of the Nei index, cluster analysis by the Tocher optimization method formed three clusters. Pearson correlation among genetic distance estimates obtained from the DNA markers and the isoenzymatic markers showed the consistency of both the methods in assessing genetic divergence among elephantgrass cultivars. No duplicates were found in the treatments assessed.

Keywords : Pennisetum purpureum Schum.; Tocher optimization method; dendrogram; isoenzymatic markers.

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