Twenty-one accessions of African nutmeg (Monodora myristica Gaertn. Dunal), an endangered spice plant, were collected from the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria and analyzed for genetic diversity using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. Twenty-one (21) decamer primers were tested out of which 10 that gave reproducible band patterns were selected for the study. A total of 77 bands were generated, ranging from 3 for OPB17 to 13 for OPT07, and were all polymorphic. The mean polymorphic information content (PIC) and genetic diversity (He) were 0.673 and 0.697, respectively, indicating high genetic variation among the accessions. Cluster analysis delineated the accessions into four major groups. The maximum similarity index (0.88) based on Dice coefficient was recorded between AGL-01 and CRS-01 while the least (0.13) was between UGA-02 and EKW 01. The derived data was thus able to determine the extent of molecular variation underlying RAPD size polymorphism. Results obtained from this study proved that RAPD could be successfully used as a molecular tool for diversity study in M. myristica. The distributive pattern of genetic variation of M. myristica accessions provides important baseline data for conservation and improvement strategies for this species.
Key words: African nutmeg, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), genetic variation, polymorphic information content (PIC), similarity index, Monodora myristica.
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