Diversity Assessment and DNA-Based Fingerprinting of Sicilian Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) Germplasm

Annalisa Marchese, Antonio Mauceri, Ignazio Digangi, Maria Carola Fiore

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The characterization of plant genetic resources is a precondition for genetic improvement and germplasm management. The increasing use of molecular markers for DNA-based genotype signature is crucial for variety identification and traceability in the food supply chain. We collected 75 Sicilian hazelnut accessions from private and public field collections, including widely grown varieties from the Nebrodi Mountains in north east Sicily (Italy). The germplasm was fingerprinted through nine standardized microsatellites (SSR) for hazelnut identification to evaluate the genetic diversity of the collected accessions, validating SSR discrimination power. We identified cases of homonymy and synonymy among acquisitions and the unique profiles. The genetic relationships illustrated by hierarchical clustering, structure, and discriminant analyses revealed a clear distinction between local and commercial varieties. The comparative genetic analysis also showed that the Nebrodi genotypes are significantly different from the Northern Italian, Iberian, and Turkish genotypes. These results highlight the need and urgency to preserve Nebrodi germplasm as a useful and valuable source for traits of interest employable for breeding. Our study demonstrates the usefulness of molecular marker analysis to select a reference germplasm collection of Sicilian hazelnut varieties and to implement certified plants’ production in the supply chain.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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