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Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were used to assess genetic diversity among 24 Capsicum cultivars collected from some states in Nigeria. These cultivars differ in their fruit morphology. 18 RAPD markers detected a total of 176 alleles (mean, 9.78; range, 5–15). Unique alleles (22) were found in 10 Capsicum cultivars. Genetic distance based on Jaccard coefficient range from 0.21 to 0.88, with an average of 0.61. Line pairs in Capsicum annuum (rodo) ranged from 0.21 to 0.63. A dendrogram based on RAPD markers divided the lines into 4 main groups and 1 line, which separated from other lines. The first group included 9 CR lines (Capsicum annuum) while the second group included 7 CS lines (Capsicum frutescens). The third group contained 1 CT (Capsicum annuum) and 2 CA lines (Capsicum frutescens). Lastly, the fourth group was separated into 2 subgroups; the first subgroup included the closely related cultivars CG (CG22 and CG23) lines (Capsicum annuum) whereas the second subgroup included CS17 and CA21 (Capsicum frutescens).
Principal component analysis (PCA) also grouped the lines and these were consistent with the dendrogram groupings. The grouping of these lines reflected their genetic similarity at the species level. These results define the existence of genetic diversity in the Capsicum species grown in some Nigerian states, which might be useful for future decisions in their conservation and management strategies.
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