Genetic diversity of F1 and F2 interspecific hybrids between dwarf birch (Betula nana L.) and Himalayan birch (B. utilis var. jacquemontii (Spach) Winkl. 'Doorenbos') using RAPD-PCR markers and ploidy analysis
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Crosses between Betula nana and B. utilis 'Doorenbos' were undertaken in order to obtain interspecific hybrids which could be characterized by wide spreading stems, strong branching habit, decorative clear white bark and an interesting shape of purple leaves. The research purpose was to examine genetic diversity of the 16 F1 and F2 putative progenies by using the RAPD-PCR method and the ploidy analysis. A total of 242 RAPD markers were scored with 24 primers and 220 (90.9%) polymorphic bands were found. In the NJ dendrogram, cluster I consisted of the female parent - B. nana and 12 hybrids and cluster II grouped the male parent - B. utilis 'Doorenbos' with 4 hybrids (F2/2, F1/8, F1/7 and F2/1). The 2-D scaling by PCoA was in agreement with the similarity index, i.e. two hybrids (F1/8, F2/2) grouped with the male parent while others with female parent. Classification of the hybrid plants by chromosome counting demonstrated that 13 hybrids were confirmed with accurate chromosome counts as being diploid (2n=2x=28) and 3 plants (F1/7, F1/8, F2/2) as triploid with 42 chromosomes.
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