Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del. (Heglig) is a multipurpose tree with considerable potential. The wide range of environments under which it is growing suggests high pattern of variation among and within locations. The scrutiny was undertaken to assess genetic diversity among and within four geographical genotypes of Heglig growing naturally in four different regions of Sudan based on their seed performance using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. The DNA was extracted from dried leaf materials and subjected to PCR using ten primers. A total of 57 bands were scored and 42 were polymorphic with polymorphism level ranging from 50 to 87.5% and a mean of 71.7%. Cluster analysis using NTSYS-PC software, showed three main clusters. The dissimilarity values ranged between 77 and 93%. Effective gene flow among the three populations of Obied, Damazin and Gedaref and limited gene flow with Genaina was observed. Populations of B. aegyptiaca from different provenances were confirmed to have significant genetic diversity. Results indicate that RAPD could be efficiently used for studying genetic variation of B. aegyptiaca. The study recommends that local provenances of B. aegyptiaca should be properly conserved and immediate efforts to be made to widen the genetic base through research and collection from other regions.
Key words: Balanites aegyptiaca, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), marker, genetic variation, DNA, Sudan.
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