ISSN: 1659-2751

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Molecular Characterization of Selected Cardamom [Elettaria cardamomum L. (Matón) (Zingiberaceae)] Genotypes using AFLP Markers

Abstract

In recent years, the planting of cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum L. (Matón), has become very important in Colombia, developing into a viable form of work and an economic alternative in rural areas. It has begun generating income and potential agricultural diversification in coffee growing regions where cardamom plantations had originally been developed because of the excellent weather conditions and because of the national coffee production crisis. In the municipality of Jericó, the cardamom crop has been propagated over the past 17 years by both sexual and asexual methods, which, as a result, has produced a great morphological heterogeneity. The original agricultural genotypes utilized in this program of genetic improvement were acquired from other areas within the Department of Antioquia and from Costa Rica. These materials are currently represented in both the improved and common varieties, which have both desirable and undesirable characteristics dependant on international quality standards. They also present agricultural characteristics of great interest. The vegetable material of the crop has undergone a constant process of selection and a post-cloning selection. Throughout this process, introduction of plant samples from other zones, selection of materials, hybridization, conservation of progeny, and in vitro multiplication have all taken place. Because of their high rate of productivity compared to those of other countries and also to the national average, research with these particular Colombian cardamom genotypes is becoming very important. The improved varieties have an average production of about 5.4 kg (dry weight)/plant per year in contrast to the common varieties that produce 1.2 kg (dry weight)/plant per year. To evaluate the genetic variability among selected cardamom genotypes, molecular markers (type AFLP, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism) were used. A total of 15 accessions comprising nine improved varieties, three common ones, two intermediary ones, and one wild one were analyzed, utilizing 11 combinations of EcoRI-MseI primers. One hundred informative AFLP markers were generated and analyzed. The grouping analysis was accomplished through the creation of data matrices using the MSVP program (Multi Variate Statistical Package), and using Jaccard’s similitude coefficient to generate a dendrogram. The UPGM (Unweighted Pair Group Method using Arithmetic Averages) method was used for the statistical analysis of the results. The EcoRI and MseI combinations that presented more polymorphic bands were EACC/MCTA both with 12 each. The cardamom genotypes selected from the municipality of Jericó show a strong grouping tendency among them, in which seven of the nine improved varieties are included, which indicates a significant difference from the intermediary, common, and wild materials, and even from the Costa Rican material.

Key words: Cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum, AFLP, genetic variability.

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