Assessment of genetic relationships between cultivated arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancr.) and its wild close relatives in the area of domestication using microsatellite markers.
Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancr.) is an asexual propagated root crop domesticated in the Andean highlands, which exists naturally with polycarpic and monocarpic forms. Wild A. xanthorrhiza are present in the area of domestication and can occasionally be mistaken in the same field for a crop or a weed. To study genetic relationships between cultivated arracacha and the wild forms, we surveyed the diversity of 178 plant samples at 11 microsatellite (SSR) loci. As expected, wild A. xanthorrhiza forms showed a significantly higher allelic diversity for all the examined SSR markers. The cultivated pool showed an excess of heterozygosity as opposed to a deficit found in the wild compartment. High Fst values and AMOVA analysis suggest that the cultivated variety has genetically differentiated from the wild forms and is more related to the wild polycarpic than to the monocarpic. Both the wild forms were well distinguished from the cultivars. Nevertheless, among a set of F1 experimental hybrids (cultivated × wild polycarpic), some other genotypes were revealed, also being admixed. Our results highlight a large genetic base available in the wild populations of A. xanthorrhiza with potential implications for the utilization and breeding of this promising crop.