POPULATION GENETIC ANALYSIS OF BRAZILIAN PEACH BREEDING GERMPLASM

<div><p>ABSTRACT Peach has great economic and social importance in Brazil. Diverse sources of germplasm were used to introduce desirable traits in the Brazilian peach breeding pool, composed mainly by local selections and accessions selected from populations developed by the national breeding programs, adapted to subtropical climate, with low chill requirement, as well as accessions introduced from several countries. In this research, we used SSR markers, selected by their high level of polymorphism, to access genetic diversity and population structure of a set composed by 204 peach selected genotypes, based on contrasting phenotypes for valuable traits in peach breeding. A total of 80 alleles were obtained, giving an average of eight alleles per locus. In general, the average value of observed heterozygosity (0.46) was lower than the expected heterozygosity (0.63). STRUCTURE analysis assigned 162 accessions splitted into two subpopulations based mainly on their flesh type: melting (96) and non-melting (66) flesh cultivars. The remaining accessions (42) could not be assigned under the 80% membership coefficient criteria. Genetic variability was greater in melting subpopulation compared to non-melting. Additionally, 55% of the alleles present in the breeding varieties were also present in the founder varieties, indicating that founding clones are well represented in current peach cultivars and advanced selections developed. Overall, this study gives a first insight of the peach genetic variability available and evidence for population differentiation (structure) in this peach panel to be exploited and provides the basis for genome-wide association studies.</p></div>