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Am J Bot. 2002 Dec;89(12):2017-23. doi: 10.3732/ajb.89.12.2017.

Hybridization in the section Mentha (Lamiaceae) inferred from AFLP markers.

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Université Jean Monnet, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Laboratoire de Biotechnologies Végétales Appliquées aux Plantes Aromatiques et Médicinales (LBVPAM) EA 3061, 23 rue du Docteur Paul Michelon, F-42023 Saint-Etienne Cedex 02, France;


The amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) method was used to evaluate genetic diversity and to assess genetic relationships within the section Mentha in order to clarify the taxonomy of several interspecific mint hybrids with molecular markers. To this end, genetic diversity of 62 Mentha accessions from different geographic origins, representing five species and three hybrids, was assessed. Three EcoRI/MseI AFLP primer combinations generated an average of 40 AFLP markers per primer combination, ranging in size from 50 to 500 base pairs (bp). The percentage of markers polymorphic ranged from 50% to 60% across all accessions studied. According to phenetic and cladistic analysis, the 62 mint accessions were grouped into two major clusters. Principal coordinates analysis separated species into well-defined groups, and clear relationships between species and hybrids could be described. Our AFLP analysis supports taxonomic classification established among Mentha species by conventional (morphological, cytological, and chemical) methods. It allows the assessment of phenetic relationships between species and the hybrids M. spicata and M. × piperita, largely cultivated all over the world for their menthol source, and provides new insights into the subdivision of M. spicata, based for the first time on molecular markers.

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