Using molecular markers to uncover relationships among selected taxa of pea
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Molecular genetic techniques can be used to provide insights into the evolutionary process and the history of relationships among organisms. Research in this field is based on the fact that DNA sequences can be used for inferring genetic affinities. The present study involves the use of Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA sequences (RAPDs) to investigate the associations among 80 selected taxa of pea (Pisum sativum L.). Cladistic analyses of the RAPD characters produced a hypothesis (of phylogenetic branch sequences) called a cladogram. The findings of this survey suggest that there are two main taxa within the genus Pisum, P. fuivum and P. sativum, with most of the genetic variation observed restricted to the subspecific level. The hypotheses drawn here are not definitive, however. With the large number of taxa selected for this study, more RAPD characters are required to establish a credible genealogy and to answer questions raised concerning P. humile, P. elatius, and P. abyssinicum.