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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 81 (5) 264-272 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2016/81.5.5
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2016 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Retrotransposon-based sequence-specific amplification polymorphism markers reveal that cultivated Pyrus ussuriensis originated from an interspecific hybridization

Peiyuan Yu1, Shuang Jiang2, Xiaoxiang Wang3, Songling Bai1 and Yuanwen Teng1
1Department of Horticulture, The State Agricultural Ministry Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Growth, Development and Quality Improvement, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, Zhejiang, China
2Forest & Fruit Tree Institute, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shanghai 201403, China
3Horticultural Sub-Academy, Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin 150069, Heilongjiang, China

Pyrus ussuriensis Maxim. cultivars have long been considered to be directly derived from wild P. ussuriensis, which is distributed in northeastern China. However, recent studies have revealed that P. ussuriensis cultivars are similar to Pyrus pyrifolia, which is extensively cultivated in China. To clarify the origin of cultivated P. ussuriensis, 12 primers of retrotransposon-based sequence-specific amplification polymorphism marker were used to analyze the genetic relationships among 92 Pyrus accessions, including cultivated P. pyrifolia, cultivated and wild P. ussuriensis, and a few Occidental species. We obtained 1,143 scorable fragments using 12 primer combinations, of which 871 were polymorphic (i.e., 76.20%). A dendrogram produced using Dice similarity coefficients and the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean indicated that wild and cultivated P. ussuriensis form a group parallel to the P. pyrifolia group, in which a few P. ussuriensis cultivars are scattered and further divided into independent subgroups. A Bayesian model-based analysis of population structures revealed that P. ussuriensis cultivars consist of two major genepools, with one originating from wild P. ussuriensis and the other from cultivated P. pyrifolia. Our results suggest that cultivated P. ussuriensis originated from an interspecific hybridization between P. ussuriensis and P. pyrifolia. Our findings not only provide new insights into the origin of cultivated P. ussuriensis, but may contribute to the improvement of P. ussuriensis cultivars.

Keywords hybridization origin, SSAP markers, Ussurian pear, Pyrus pyrifolia, genetic diversity, genetic structure, domestication

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • Pyrus ussuriensis cultivars were believed to have been domesticated directly from wild P. ussuriensis. However, recent DNA marker-based studies indicated there is some genetic diversity between wild and cultivated P. ussuriensis, and cultivated Ussurian pears are similar to P. pyrifolia cultivars.
What are the new findings?
  • A few P. ussuriensis cultivars are scattered in the P. pyrifolia group, and the majority of wild and cultivated P. ussuriensis are clustered independently. Additionally, P. ussuriensis cultivars are composed of two genepools, with one derived from wild P. ussuriensis and the other from P. pyrifolia.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • Our results suggest that P. ussuriensis cultivars originated from interspecific hybridizations between wild P. ussuriensis and P. pyrifolia cultivars. Therefore, extra-Ussurian pear germplasm should be used to improve P. ussuriensis cultivars in pear breeding programs.

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Received: 15 July 2016 | Accepted: 13 June 2016 | Published: 30 October 2016 | Available online: 26 October 2016

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