AFLP and MS-AFLP Analysis of the Variation within Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus L.) Germplasm

Matteo Busconi, Licia Colli, Rosa Ana Sánchez, Marcela Santaella, Marcelino De-Los-Mozos Pascual, Omar Santana, Marta Roldán, José-Antonio Fernández

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The presence and extent of genetic variation in saffron crocus are still debated, as testified by several contradictory articles providing contrasting results about the monomorphism or less of the species. Remarkably, phenotypic variations have been frequently observed in the field, such variations are usually unstable and can change from one growing season to another. Considering that gene expression can be influenced both by genetic and epigenetic changes, epigenetics could be a plausible cause of the alternative phenotypes. In order to obtain new insights into this issue, we carried out a molecular marker analysis of 112 accessions from theWorld Saffron and Crocus Collection. The accessions were grown for at least three years in the same open field conditions. The same samples were analysed using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) and Methyl Sensitive AFLP in order to search for variation at the genetic (DNA sequence) and epigenetic (cytosine methylation) level. While the genetic variability was low (4.23% polymorphic peaks and twelve (12) effective different genotypes), the methyl sensitive analysis showed the presence of high epigenetic variability (33.57% polymorphic peaks and twenty eight (28) different effective epigenotypes). The pattern obtained by Factorial Correspondence Analysis of AFLP and, in particular, of MS-AFLP data was consistent with the geographical provenance of the accessions. Very interestingly, by focusing on Spanish accessions, it was observed that the distribution of the accessions in the Factorial Correspondence Analysis is not random but tends to reflect the geographical origin. Two clearly defined clusters grouping accessions from theWest (Toledo and Ciudad Real) and accessions from the East (Cuenca and Teruel) were clearly recognised
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalPLoS One
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • biodiversity
  • epigenetics
  • saffron


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