Infraspecific morphological and genetic variations of Ficus carica L. from Iran

  • Mohammad Reza Zolfaghari
  • Fahimeh Salimpour
  • Fariba Sharifnia
  • Maryam Peyvandi
  • Sayeh Jafari Marandi
Keywords: F. carica, SSR, morphology, population, genetic variation


Ficus carica L. (Moraceae) is one of the most important crop plants widely cultivated in different parts of the world. Several wild or cultivated populations of it grow in various regions of Iran. In the current research, we evaluated morphological and molecular SSR methods in order to investigate infraspecific variations in this species and introduce possible phenotypes/genotypes among its populations. For this, 14 populations were selected from different parts of the country. We evaluated 27 qualitative and quantitative morphological traits of both reproductive and vegetative organs. The ANOVA test revealed significant variations for most of the quantitative variables; moreover, qualitative features differed among populations. Significant correlations were found between some morphological characteristics with ecological factors of habitats. According to the UPGMA tree, four morphotypes existed among these populations. CA-joined plot revealed that each group was identified by some morphological variables. In addition, parameters of genetic diversity varied among the studied populations, while the AMOVA test showed significant variations, most of which belonged to the variations within the population. According to the UPGMA tree, MDS and PCoA plots, the studied populations were divided into four distinct genotypes. In addition, the UPGMA tree based on Nei genetic diversity and Structure analyses confirmed these groups. Three groups were monotypic and the fourth was composed of eleven populations. Patterns of population clustering based on the morphological traits were not similar to those of SSR data. Therefore we concluded that environmental factors had strong effects on the population’s phenotype and genotypes were not recognized by their phenotypes.