Turkish Journal of Botany




Wild cherry (Prunus avium L, syn. Cerasus avium L. Moench.) is a widely spread forest tree that has ecological and economical importance. However, the genetic diversity of this species is threatened for many reasons. Therefore, a breeding and conservation program should be established in order to minimise the loss of genetic diversity. In this study, we aimed to understand the genetic structure of 440 individual wild cherries sampled from 22 different populations in Turkey using 10 SSR molecular markers. With the molecular variance analysis, we found that the genetic diversity within the population is approximately 88.5% and the genetic diversity among the populations is approximately 9.8%. Thus, wild cherry genetic diversity within populations is high whereas it is moderate between tested populations (FST values 0.02-0.16). Phylogeny, principal component, and genetic STRUCTURE analysis showed that populations are divided according to their geographical locations. Moreover, Veliköy and Kemerköprü populations that are located at higher altitudes, Macara population which is the closest sample to Europe, and the Tota population that is sampled from the Mediterranean Region; were found genetically different from the others. Hence, we suggest in-situ conservation to Veliköy, Kemerköprü, Macara, and Tota populations. Our results will contribute to in-situ and ex-situ conservation and breeding programmes to conserve genetic resources of the wild cherries in Turkey


Wild cherry, Prunus avium L., genetic diversity, SSR markers

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