Genetic diversity among 25 natural populations of three different species of Quercusin Jordan at morphological and molecular levels using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers was assessed. Significant morphological and molecular variations among and within 25 Quercus populations were estimated. Standardized canonical discrimination functions for the investigated morphological traits showed that the first function explains 72.44% of the total variability between populations and was strongly influenced by leaf and scale length. Twenty-seven polymorphic markers and 5917 scored bands were generated using six RAPD primers. Based on morphological and RAPD data, the populations were grouped together in the same cluster according to species regardless of local of collections. Result of cluster analysis based on RAPD showed significant correlation with morphological characters based on Mantel’s test (r = 0.145**). This study has emphasized the ability of the morphological and molecular markers in determining the genetic diversity among and within the populations of Quercus and that the resulted high genetic variability could be utilized in implications of improving conservation, restoration and reforestation strategies of Quercus in Jordan.
Key words: Quercus spp., genetic diversity, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers, conservation, restoration.
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