Origins of Japanese flowering cherry (Prunus subgenus Cerasus) cultivars revealed using nuclear SSR markers

Shuri Kato*, Asako Matsumoto, Kensuke Yoshimura, Toshio Katsuki, Kojiro Iwamoto, Takayuki Kawahara, Yuzuru Mukai, Yoshiaki Tsuda, Shogo Ishio, Kentaro Nakamura, Kazuo Moriwaki, Toshihiko Shiroishi, Takashi Gojobori, Hiroshi Yoshimaru

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Japanese flowering cherry (Prunus subgenus Cerasus) cultivars, which are characterized by beautiful flowers, have been developed through hybridization among wild Prunus taxa. The long history of cultivation has caused significant confusion over the origins of these cultivars. We conducted molecular analysis using nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR) polymorphisms to trace cultivar origins. Bayesian clustering based on the STRUCTURE analysis using SSR genotypes revealed that many cultivars originated from hybridization between two or more wild species. This suggests that morphological variations among flowering cherry cultivars probably arose through a complex sequence of hybridizations. Our findings generally supported estimates of the origins of cultivars based on morphological study, although there were some exceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-487
Number of pages11
JournalTree Genetics and Genomes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Cerasus
  • Cultivars
  • Ornamental tree
  • Prunus
  • SSR
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Horticulture


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