RAPD and microsatellite transferability studies in selected species of Prosopis (section Algarobia) with emphasis on Prosopis juliflora and P. pallida.
The genus Prosopis (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae), comprises 44 species widely distributed in arid and semi-arid zones. Prosopis pallida (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Kunth and P. juliflora (Sw.) DC. are the two species that are truly tropical apart from P. africana, which is native to tropical Africa (Pasiecznik et al. 2004), and they have been introduced widely beyond their native ranges. However, taxonomic confusion within the genus has hampered exploitation and better management of the species. The present study focusses primarily on evaluating the genetic relationship between Prosopis species from the section Algarobia, containing most species of economic importance, though P. tamarugo from section Strombocarpa is also included for comparison. In total, 12 Prosopis species and a putative P. pallida × P. chilensis hybrid were assessed for their genetic relationships based on RAPD markers and microsatellite transferability. The results show that P. pallida and P. juliflora are not closely related despite some morphological similarity. Evidence also agrees with previous studies which suggest that the grouping of series in section Algarobia is artificial.