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Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Sponsor

Stephen DiFazio


Clonality prevails as reproductive strategy of choice in several plant species, including Asimina triloba. More commonly known as the North American Paw Paw tree, this plant yields high domestication potential and well as scientific value. Clonality and inbreeding are highly common in Paw Paw which can pose a threat to the species’ success due the effect on genetic variation. The goal of this experiment was to examine geographic distance in the context of clonality by determining the number of individuals and clones within and among subpopulations. Methodology includes analysis of plant genetic makeup through extraction, amplification, and iSSR analysis. Data was examined using GenAlex and STRUCTURE, which yielded models of heterozygosity, genetic distance, genetic relatedness, molecular variance, and evolutionary relatedness. Little data supported features of clonality and much of it had to be discarded due to the programs’ incompatibility with clonal genes. Though no conclusions could be drawn about genetic distance and clonality, the study offered a look into the reproductive strategies of the Paw Paw tree and how clonal organisms are studied. Future directions include development of population genetic analysis program that are compatible with clonal organisms.

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