Genetic diversity and patterns of population structure of the 94 oil palm lines were investigated using species-specific simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. We designed primers for 63 SSR loci based on their flanking sequences and conducted amplification in 94 oil palm DNA samples. The amplification result showed that a relatively high level of genetic diversity was observed between oil palm individuals according a set of 21 polymorphic microsatellite loci. The observed heterozygosity (Ho) was 0.3683 and 0.4035, with an average of 0.3859. The Ho value was a reliable determinant of the discriminatory power of the SSR primer combinations. The principal component analysis and unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic averaging cluster analysis showed the 94 oil palm lines were grouped into one cluster. These results demonstrated that the oil palm in Hainan Province of China and the germplasm introduced from Malaysia may be from the same source. The SSR protocol was effective and reliable for assessing the genetic diversity of oil palm. Knowledge of the genetic diversity and population structure will be crucial for establishing appropriate management stocks for this species.
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