SSR markers are useful tools in wheat varietal purity and genetic diversity assessment

Different breeding programs worldwide have developed various cultivars that can cope with changing and increasingly unpredictable environments while meeting market needs. These developments have brought a new challenge: creating tools to distinguish such varieties and trace their genetic purity. Using 40 wheat cultivars grown in Romania, Vasile and collaborators show that Simple Sequence Repeat markers (SSRs; short base-pair sequences repeated several times in tandem) are promising tools to achieve that. Of the 22 motifs evaluated, all but one showed some variation, suggesting that they can indeed be used to assess varietal purity. Moreover, these sequences helped distinguish certified wheat materials from those of other crops and even other wheat varieties. This research shows the utility of SSRs and, as a result, expands the current toolbox that plant breeders and producers have for assessing wheat varietal purity. In fact, materials from harvests of different years showed high similarity for these markers, suggesting that current agricultural practices succeed in maintaining such purity. (Summary by Carlos A. Ordóñez-Parra @caordonezparra) Seed Sci. Technol. 10.15258/sst.2023.51.2.01