Decroocq S, Cornille A, Tricon D, Babayeva S, Chague A, Eyquard JP, Karychev R, Dolgikh S, Kostritsyna T, Liu S, Liu W, Geng W, Liao K, Asma BM, Akparov Z, Giraud T, Decroocq V
Mol. Ecol. 25 (19) 4712-4729 [2016-10-00; online 2016-09-06]
Studying domesticated species and their wild relatives allows understanding of the mechanisms of population divergence and adaptation, and identifying valuable genetic resources. Apricot is an important fruit in the Northern hemisphere, where it is threatened by the Plum pox virus (PPV), causing the sharka disease. The histories of apricot domestication and of its resistance to sharka are however still poorly understood. We used 18 microsatellite markers to genotype a collection of 230 wild trees from Central Asia and 142 cultivated apricots as representatives of the worldwide cultivated apricot germplasm; we also performed experimental PPV inoculation tests. The genetic markers revealed highest levels of diversity in Central Asian and Chinese wild and cultivated apricots, confirming an origin in this region. In cultivated apricots, Chinese accessions were differentiated from more Western accessions, while cultivated apricots were differentiated from wild apricots. An approximate Bayesian approach indicated that apricots likely underwent two independent domestication events, with bottlenecks, from the same wild population. Central Asian native apricots exhibited genetic subdivision and high frequency of resistance to sharka. Altogether, our results contribute to the understanding of the domestication history of cultivated apricot and point to valuable genetic diversity in the extant genetic resources of wild apricots.