AFLP Assessment of Genetic Diversity of Capsicum Genetic Resources in Guatemala
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The genetic diversity of 74 chili pepper accessions (Capsicum spp.) was evaluated with amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs). Thirty-four accessions were collected from home gardens throughout the Department of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The remaining accessions were selected from the national ex situ germplasm collection representing the diversity of 12 other departments of Guatemala. Most of the accessions belong to Capsicum annuum L., both cultivated and semicultivated types. A few accessions of C. chinense Jacq., C. frutescens L., and C. pubescens Ruiz & Pavon were also included. The analysis of banding patterns (68 polymorphic bands) were obtained with three AFLP primer combinations (+3/+4 and +4/+3 selective bases) and allowed the discrimination of all but two of the accessions examined. It also made it possible to conclude that the genetic diversity found in the home gardens of Alta Verapaz is representative of the total genetic diversity of Capsicum in Guatemala. This is the first time that molecular markers have been used to assess crop genetic diversity maintained in home gardens and to evaluate their importance for in situ conservation of genetic resources.
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