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Molecular genetic diversity of the Turkish national hazelnut collection and selection of a core set
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European hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) is an economically and nutritionally important nut crop with wild and cultivated populations found throughout Europe and in parts of Asia. This study examined the molecular genetic diversity and population structure of 402 genotypes including 143 wild individuals, 239 landraces, and 20 cultivars from the Turkish national hazelnut collection using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. A total of 30 SSR markers yielded 407 polymorphic fragments. Diversity analysis of the Turkish hazelnut genotypes indicated that they fell into three subpopulations according to ad hoc statistics and neighbor-joining algorithm. Although all cultivars clustered together, they overlapped with the wild accessions and landraces. Thus, the dendrogram, principal coordinate, and population structure analyses suggest that they share the same gene pool. A total of 78 accessions were selected as a core set to encompass the molecular genetic and morphological diversity present in the national collection. This core set should have priority in preservation efforts and in trait characterization.