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Article

Diversity and Relationships among Neglected Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) Landraces Using Morphological Traits and SSR Markers: Implications for Agro-Biodiversity Conservation

1
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy
2
Consorzio Interuniversitario Biotecnologie (CIB), University of Naples Federico II Unit, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gregor Kozlowski
Plants 2021, 10(7), 1341; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071341
Received: 22 April 2021 / Revised: 25 May 2021 / Accepted: 29 June 2021 / Published: 30 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity and Conservation of Woody Species)
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) is an economically important tree species globally cultivated in temperate areas. Italy has an ample number of traditional varieties, but numerous landraces are abandoned and at risk of extinction because of increasing urbanization, agricultural intensification, and varietal renewal. In this work, we investigated the morphological and genetic diversity present in an ex-situ collection of 28 neglected varieties belonging to the so-called “Vesuvian apricot”. Our aim was to understand the level of diversity and the possible link between the promotion of specific fruit types (e.g., by public policies) and the intraspecific variation in apricot. The combination of five continuous and seven categorical traits allowed us to phenotypically distinguish the varieties; while fruit quality-related attributes displayed high variation, both apricot size and skin colour were more uniform. The twelve fluorescent-based Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs) markers identified cultivar-specific molecular profiles and revealed a high molecular diversity, which poorly correlated with that described by the morphological analysis. Our results highlighted the complementary information provided by the two sets of descriptors and that DNA markers are necessary to separate morphologically related apricot landraces. The observed morphological and genetic differences suggest a loss of diversity influenced by maintenance breeding of specific pomological traits (e.g., skin colour and size). Finally, our study provided evidence to recommend complementary strategies to avoid the loss of diversity in apricot. Actions should pivot on both the promotion of easily identified premium products and more inclusive biodiversity-centred on-farm strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: stone fruit; local varieties; germplasm; pomological traits; DNA fingerprinting; microsatellites stone fruit; local varieties; germplasm; pomological traits; DNA fingerprinting; microsatellites
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MDPI and ACS Style

Corrado, G.; Forlani, M.; Rao, R.; Basile, B. Diversity and Relationships among Neglected Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) Landraces Using Morphological Traits and SSR Markers: Implications for Agro-Biodiversity Conservation. Plants 2021, 10, 1341. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071341

AMA Style

Corrado G, Forlani M, Rao R, Basile B. Diversity and Relationships among Neglected Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) Landraces Using Morphological Traits and SSR Markers: Implications for Agro-Biodiversity Conservation. Plants. 2021; 10(7):1341. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071341

Chicago/Turabian Style

Corrado, Giandomenico, Marcello Forlani, Rosa Rao, and Boris Basile. 2021. "Diversity and Relationships among Neglected Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) Landraces Using Morphological Traits and SSR Markers: Implications for Agro-Biodiversity Conservation" Plants 10, no. 7: 1341. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071341

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