Molecular analysis of genetic diversity, population structure, and phylogeny of wild and cultivated tulips (Tulipa L.) by genic microsatellites

Ali Pourkhaloee, Morteza Khosh-Khui*, Paul Arens, Hassan Salehi, Hooman Razi, Ali Niazi, Alireza Afsharifar, Jaap van Tuyl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Tulip (Tulipa L.) is one of the most important ornamental geophytes in the world. Analysis of molecular variability of tulips is of great importance in conservation and parental lines selection in breeding programs. Of the 70 genic microsatellites, 15 highly polymorphic and reproducible markers were used to assess the genetic diversity, structure, and relationships among 280 individuals of 36 wild and cultivated tulip accessions from two countries: Iran and the Netherlands. The mean values of gene diversity and polymorphism information content were 0.69 and 0.66, respectively, which indicated the high discriminatory power of markers. The calculated genetic diversity parameters were found to be the highest in wild T. systola Stapf (Derak region). Bayesian model-based STRUCTURE analysis detected five gene pools for 36 germplasms which corresponded with morphological observations and traditional classifications. Based on analysis of molecular variance, to conserve wild genetic resources in some geographical locations, sampling should be performed from distant locations to achieve high diversity. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram and principal component analysis plot indicated that among wild tulips, T. systola and T. micheliana Hoog exhibited the closest relationships with cultivated tulips. Thus, it can be assumed that wild tulips from Iran and perhaps other Middle East countries played a role in the origin of T. gesneriana, which is likely a tulip species hybrid of unclear origin. In conclusion, due to the high genetic variability of wild tulips, they can be used in tulip breeding programs as a source of useful alleles related to resistance against stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-888
JournalHorticulture Environment and Biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Bulb crop
  • Conservation implications
  • EST–SSR markers
  • Population genetics

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