Tracing the geographic origins of major avocado cultivars

Haofeng Chen, Peter L. Morrell, Vanessa E T M Ashworth, Marlene De La Cruz, Michael T. Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


It has been difficult to infer the genetic history of avocado breeding, owing to the role of hybridization in the origin of contemporary avocado cultivars. To address this difficulty, we used the model-based clustering program, STRUCTURE, and nucleotide polymorphism in 5960 bp of sequence from 4 nuclear loci to examine population structure in 21 wild avocado accessions. The origins of 33 cultivars were inferred relative to the wild sample. Nucleotide sequence diversity in domesticated avocados ranged between 80% and 90% of that observed for the same loci in wild avocado, depending on the diversity statistic used for comparison. Substantial genetic differentiation among 3 geographic groups of wild germplasm corresponded to the classically defined horticultural races of avocado. Previously undetected genetic differentiation was revealed in wild populations from Central Mexico, where 2 subpopulations were distinguished based on elevation and latitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Assignment testing
  • Avocado
  • Domestication
  • Genetic resources
  • Haplotype phasing
  • SNPs


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