RESULTS: Our results indicate that the SHELL markers can theoretically reduce the major losses due to dura contamination of tenera planting material. However, these markers cannot distinguish illegitimate tenera, which reduces the value of having bred elite tenera for commercial planting and in the breeding programme, where fruit form is of limited utility, and incorrect identity could lead to significant problems. We propose an optimised approach using SNPs for routine quality control.
CONCLUSIONS: Both dura and tenera contamination can be identified and removed at or before the nursery stage. An optimised legitimacy assay using SNP markers coupled with a suitable sampling scheme is now ready to be deployed as a standard control for seed production and breeding in oil palm. The same approach will also be an effective solution for other perennial crops, such as coconut and date palm.