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Overview: Morphological and Molecular Markers role in Crop Improvement Programs

Atnafua Bekele and Endashaw Bekele

The knowledge of existing plant genetic diversity is crucial for effective management of crop genetic resources. The variability obtained in the genome of a species can be grouped in to visible and non visible characteristics. Ethino-botanical classification, morphological, biochemical and molecular characterization are schemes used for measurement of genetic diversity. Morphological characterization is highly recommended at the beginning prior to biochemical and molecular studies. Morphological markers allow assessment of genetic variability based on individual phenotypic difference yet there are limitations associated to these markers. These limitations led to the development of molecular markers. Molecular marker techniques are based on naturally occurring polymorphisms in DNA sequences. Thus, these markers had several advantages over conventional phenotypic characterization.

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