Genetic diversity within Salvia is the key to the genetic improvement of the medicine plantSalvia miltiorrhiza. In the current study, morphological and molecular characteristics were studied in 18 taxa of Salvia. A coefficient of variation was based on 18 morphological traits ranging from 17.56 to 115.04%. Among 70 random primers examined, 27 randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers produced 248 extending and repeatable bands, of which 207 bands (83.47%) were polymorphic. All of the data revealed abundant genetic diversity in the genus of Salvia. 18 taxa were clustered into five groups based on the morphological markers or four groups based on RAPD markers. The results showed that there was slighter genetic diversity and narrower genetic backgrounds at the intra-specific level, and that we can easily distinguish S. miltiorrhiza from the rest of Salvia species by two ways. The differences of the two dendrograms might be introduced by many reasons, such as the gene expression, environment, and gene introgressions. However, Mantel’s test indicated correction (r = 0.483) of morphological traits and RAPD markers.
Key words: Cluster analysis, genetic diversity, morphological, randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), Salvia.
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