Origins of the amphiploid species Brassica napus L. investigated by chloroplast and nuclear molecular markers Charlotte J Allender * 1 and Graham J King 2 Background: The amphiploid species Brassica napus (oilseed rape, Canola) is a globally important oil crop yielding food, biofuels and industrial compounds such as lubricants and surfactants. Identification of the likely ancestors of each of the two genomes (designated A and C) found in B. napus would facilitate incorporation of novel alleles from the wider Brassica genepool in oilseed rape crop genetic improvement programmes. Knowledge of the closest extant relatives of the genotypes involved in the initial formation of B. napus would also allow further investigation of the genetic factors required for the formation of a stable amphiploid and permit the more efficient creation of fully fertile re-synthesised B. napus. We have used a combination of chloroplast and nuclear genetic markers to investigate the closest extant relatives of the original maternal progenitors of B. napus. This was based on a comprehensive sampling of the relevant genepools, including 83 accessions of A genome B. rapa L. (both wild and cultivated types), 94 accessions of B. napus and 181 accessions of C genome wild and cultivated B. oleracea L. and related species
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