To effectively differentiate and characterize six of the most cultivated hard wheat (Triticum durum Desf) varieties in Tunisia, morphological and molecular markers were used. In the former approach, 10 qualitative characters were employed, as recommended by UPOV descriptors. Twelve of the 17 screened simple sequence repeat (SSR) primers showed clear polymorphic patterns following agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Of these 12 primers, 64.3% produced polymorphic bands. Based on pedigree and origin, it was concluded that there was a narrow genetic base between these varieties. Mantel’s test showed a weak correlation between morphological and molecular data (r = 0.24), indicating that these two approaches are complementary and can be used to study polymorphism, even within a small durum wheat collection. This data set is important for Tunisian hard wheat breeders who would seek to expand the genetic base of their breeding material.
Key words: Simple sequence repeat (SSR), International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) descriptor, hard wheat, polymorphism.
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