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New insights on limes and lemons origin from nuclear and cytoplasmic markers genenotyping and targeted nuclear gene sequencing

Curk F., Garcia-Lor A., Snoussi Trifa H., Froelicher Y., Ancillo G., Navarro L., Ollitrault P.. 2015. In : Navarro Luis (ed.), Sabater-Muñoz Beatriz (ed.), Moreno Pedro (ed.), Peña Leandro (ed.). Proceedings of the XIIth International Citrus Congress: International Society of Citriculture. Leuven : ISHS, p. 135-146. (Acta Horticulturae, 1065). International Citrus Congress: Citrus and Health. 12, 2012-11-18/2012-11-23, Valence (Espagne).

It is believed that Citrus medica, C. maxima, C. reticulate and C. micrantha have generated all cultivated citrus species. Depending on the classification, lemons and limes are classified either into two species, C. limon and C. aurantifolia (Swingle and Reece, 1967) or into more than 30 (Tanaka, 1977). In order to study the molecular phylogeny of this citrus group, we analyzed 23 targeted sequenced nuclear genes and used three mitochondrial and five chloroplastic markers for 15 lemons and limes compared with representatives of the four basic taxa. We observed three main groups, each one derived from direct interspecific hybridizations: (1) the Mexican lime group (C. aurantifolia), including C. macrophylla, arising from hybridizations between papeda (C. micrantha) and citron (C. medica); (2) the yellow lemon group (C. limon) that are hybrids between sour orange (C. aurantium, which is believed to be a hybrid between C. maxima and C. reticulata) and citron; and (3) a rootstock lemon/lime group (Rough lemon and Rangpur lime) that are hybrids between an acid mandarin and a citron. We also identified different probable backcrosses and genotypes with more complex origin. None of the analyzed limes and lemons shared the C. medica cytoplasm, while this taxon is the common nuclear contributor of all limes and lemons. Limes and lemons appear to be a very complex citrus varietal group with the contribution of the 4 basic taxa. Neither the Swingle and Reece classification nor the Tanaka fit with the genetic evidence.

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