Assessing Genetic Diversity of Shishi Date Palm Cultivars in Saudi Arabia and Qatar Using Microsatellite Markers
In this study fourteen microsatellite primer pairs were used to study the genetic diversity of Shishi Date palm in Qatar. A total of 32 date palm (15 Shishi cultivar, 10 Khalas and seven male date palms) were collected from Qatar and 5 Shihi cultivars were collected from Saudi Arabia for comparison. The Shishi set collected from Qatar was selected from different regions to represent the genetic diversity of this cultivar. The results indicated 98 alleles produced from the 14 microsatellite markers, and the cluster analysis showed four major clusters corresponding o the geographical areas. Similarly, the structure analysis indicated four populations according to statistic K value. PCoA analysis showed three groups (A, B and C) separating Shishi (from Qatar) in group A, Khalas in group B and Shishi (from Saudi Arabia) in group C and no clear group separated the male genotypes. This indicates that the sexual propagation by seeds is the main source of variation in the date palm. This is the first study focusing on Shishi cultivar in Qatar and Saudi Arabia by using molecular markers.