Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers (36 microsatellite pairs) were used to assess genetic diversity among sixteen rice (Oriza sativa L.) cultivars from Iran, four from Uzbekistan, and one from Afghanistan, and to compare this diversity with that of three control cultivars including Nipponbare, Jasmine 85 and Basmati 370. Among the 36 microsatellite pairs, 31 produced polymorphisms ranging from 1 to 7 alleles (average = 3.72 per microsatellite). There were 134 alleles detected using all the SSR primers, 103 of which (76.9%) showed polymorphisms, while 31 did not. The genetic similarity coefficient among the 24 rice cultivars was 0.601. The genetic diversity revealed by this survey will be useful to designate the most appropriate parental cv. to initiate a breeding program aimed at developing new rice varieties with traits adapted for Middle Eastern agriculture.
Key words: Rice cultivars (cvs.), simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker, polymorphism information contents (PIC) value, and genetic similarity (GS), microsatellite.
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