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Genetic and morphological characterization of chestnut Castanea sativa Mill germplasm in Piedmont north-western Italy



Genetic and morphological characterization of chestnut Castanea sativa Mill germplasm in Piedmont north-western Italy



Tree Genetics & Genomes 9(4): 1017-1030



Castanea sativa Mill. is an important multipurpose tree species for north-western Italy, and specially for Piedmont Region. The preservation of its germplasm from the genetic erosion due to the changes in socio-economic structure of rural areas and specific pathogen attacks is critical. The principal aims of this work were to characterize the chestnut germplasm grown in Piedmont and investigate its genetic structure. Sixty-eight grafted chestnut trees were evaluated using 10 SSRs (simple sequence repeats) loci and 20 morphological descriptors. Thirty-six different genotypes were identified; the analysis of the genetic structure of this germplasm revealed that four gene pools contributed to the formation of the population sampled. In general, cultivars tended to group into a main gene pool on the basis of their prevalent use and growing area. These results are substantially in agreement with those of the cluster analysis that was carried out to estimate the genetic relationships among the cultivars. Morphological analyses showed large variation of traits among the individuals, related with the market destination of the nuts and useful for cultivar and clonal selection. Discriminant analysis was applied to find a correlation between genetic and morphological data: nut and leaf shape, nut hairiness and male flower type resulted to be the most discriminant traits associated with the genetic structure. In the end, this work clarified the genetic structure of the cultivated germplasm in Piedmont describing the main cultivars of the region, giving useful information for conservation and breeding purposes.

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Accession: 036851741

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DOI: 10.1007/s11295-013-0613-0


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