Molecular genetic diversity in the Turkish national melon collection and selection of a preliminary core set
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Turkey is a secondary center of diversity for melon (Cucumis melo) and is home to a variety of regional morphotypes. This diversity is housed in a national germplasm repository with more than 500 accessions. Molecular genetic variability of 209 melon genotypes from 115 accessions of this collection was characterized using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs). Ten AFLP primer combinations yielded 279 reproducible fragments, which were used for dendrogram and principal coordinate analyses. These analyses showed two major clusters of Turkish melons: one group contained highly similar genotypes (maximum Dice dissimilarity coefficient of 0.18), whereas the other group was genetically more diverse (maximum dissimilarity 0.41). Although average dissimilarity was low (0.13), a broad range of genetic diversity was observed in the collection. A marker allele richness strategy was used to select a core set of 20 genotypes representing the allelic diversity of the AFLP data. The core set had double the average diversity (0.26) of the entire set and represented the major morphotypes present in the collection. Molecular genetic diversity of the core set was further validated using simple sequence repeat marker data (116 polymorphic fragments), which confirmed that the selected core set retained high levels of molecular genetic diversity.