Genetic variation and diversity among loquat accessions
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Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl., Maloideae, Rosaceae) is a subtropical evergreen fruit tree indigenous of China, where the center of origin of the species is located. Loquat is grown in all subtropical areas and was introduced in the Mediterranean basin in late eighteenth century. In Europe, the largest germplasm bank is located at Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA; Valencia, Spain). Thirteen microsatellites and a conserved region of S-allele were used to assess the genetic diversity of 102 accessions of the IVIA collection. A total of 38 SSR alleles and 11 putative S-alleles were used to study the genetic structure of the loquat germplasm bank using the STRUCTURE software, Factorial Correspondence Analysis (FCA), and unweighted pair-group method (UPGMA) cluster analyses. The total diversity was H (T) = 0.5682, the genetic differentiation G (ST) = 0.1660, and the standardized G (ST) reached a much higher value of G'(ST) = 0.4948. The Evanno's test indicated that the most informative number of populations was five, with accessions distributed according to their geographic origin in two, one, and two groups of Spanish, Italo-Spanish, and non-European origin, respectively. Knowledge of the substructure and diversity of the IVIA loquat collection and the self-incompatibility genotype data will allow us to select and incorporate useful materials into the loquat breeding program.