Date palm(Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a long-lived, dioecious, monocotyledonous fruit tree having (2n=2x=36) chromosome number and wind pollinated member of the Arecaceae family. Identification of genetic variation and phylogenetic relationships in the date palm grown in Nigeria would be useful for genetic improvement and conservation. Genetic polymorphism in 10 date palms grown in Nigeria was analyzed using RAPD makers. The leaf samples for DNA extraction were collected from Nigerian Institute for Oil palm Research (NIFOR) date palm experimental substation Dutse, Jigawa State, Nigeria. DNA was extracted from young leaves for PCR Amplification employing DNeasy Mini Kit. . Five RAPD selected primers were employed to determine genetic variation among the ten date palms genotypes and also to test the effectiveness of RAPD primers as a genetic maker. Polymorphism was observed among all the date palms using the RAPD primers. Cluster analysis using sequence alignment was done to generated dendrogram verifying relationship among the ten studied date palms, with an average similarity matrix range of 0.00 to 0.85. This study has helped to design molecular markers such as RAPD that are suitable in the characterization of Nigerian date palm collection.
Key words: Date Palm, RAPD, Molecular marker, polymorphisms and characterization