The role of Molecular Markers in Improvement of Fruit Crops
Markers have been used over the years for the classification of plants. Markers are any trait of an organism that can be identified with confidence and relative easy, and can be followed in a mapping population on another hand markers be defined as heritable entities associated with the economically important trait under the control of polygenes. Morphological markers can be detected with naked eye (naked eye polymorphism) or as difference in physical or chemical properties of the macromolecules. In other words, there are two types of genetic markers viz. morphological markers or naked eye polymorphism and non-morphological markers or molecular markers. Morphological markers include traits such as plant height, disease response, photoperiod, sensitivity, shape or colour of flowers, fruits or seeds etc. Molecular markers include biochemical constituents. Morphological markers have many limitations for being used as markers particularly in fruit crops because of long generation time and large size of fruit trees besides being influenced by environment. Consequently, molecular markers could be appropriate choice to study and preserve the diversity in any germplasm. Molecular markers have diverse applications in fruit crop improvement, particularly in the areas of genetic diversity and varietal identification studies, gene tagging, disease diagnostics, pedigree analysis, hybrid detection, sex differentiation and marker assisted selection.
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