Bromeliads are of great economic importance in flower production; however little information is available with respect to genetic characterization of cultivated bromeliads thus far. In the present study, a selection of cultivated bromeliads was characterized via inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers with an emphasis on genetic diversity and population structure. Twelve ISSR primers produced 342 bands, of which 287 (~84%) were polymorphic, with polymorphic bands per primer ranging from 17 to 34. The Jaccard’s similarity ranged from 0.08 to 0.89 and averaged ~0.30 for the investigated bromeliads. The Bayesian-based approach, together with the un-weighted paired group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA)-based clustering and the principal coordinate analysis (PCoA), distinctly grouped the bromeliads from Neoregelia, Guzmania, and Vriesea into three separately clusters, well corresponding with their botanical classifications; whereas the bromeliads of Aechmea other than the recently selected hybrids were not well assigned to a cluster. Additionally, ISSR marker was proven efficient for the identification of hybrids and bud sports of cultivated bromeliads. The findings achieved herein will further our knowledge about the genetic variability within cultivated bromeliads and therefore facilitate breeding for new varieties of cultivated bromeliads in future as well.
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