Characterization of some wild Berberis sp. genotypes distributed in the northeast of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Former PhD student, Horticultural Sciences Department, Faculty of Plant Productions, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

2 Horticultural Sciences Department, Faculty of Plant Productions, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

3 Department. of Plant Breeding, Faculty of Plant Productions, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran


The wild barberry shrubs, commonly known as black barberry, are naturally widespread in the north and northeast elevations of Iran. Besides a rich gene bank, these are highly considered concerning food and medicinal purposes. The present research work was undertaken to evaluate the genetic diversity among 15 different barberry genotypes (14 wild and one cultivated genotypes) through morphological, biochemical, and molecular markers. The morphological traits of leaf, thorn, and berry were measured. The biochemical properties of the studied genotypes were also measured at the fruit ripening stage. Furthermore, the genotypes were subjected to simple sequence repeat analysis to ascertain their genetic diversity at the molecular level. The studied accessions were diverse in the case of morphological traits and they were classified into five distinct groups. Moreover, some rare and remarkable morphological characteristics were found in the fruit shape and fruit clusters of some genotypes not reported earlier. Though wide differences were obtained concerning fruit biochemical compounds, the differences didn’t have a clear trend. The accessions were characterized based on microsatellite analysis into eight groups in which the closely related genotypes had relatively higher geographical similarities. Access to the genetic diversity of these genotypes may be considered as the backbone of their future breeding programs and the reported data supported that the northeast of Iran may be assumed as a rich source for the diversity of Berberis germplasm.


Ahmed M, Anjum, MA, and Naz RMM, 2013. Characterization of indigenous barberry germplasm in Pakistan: variability in morphological characteristics and nutritional composition. Fruits, 68(5): 409-422.
Alavi N and Mazloumzadeh SM, 2012. Effect of harvesting and drying methods of seedless barberry on some fruit quality. Journal of Saudi Society for Agricultural Sciences. 11: 51-55.
Alemardan A, Asadi W, and Rezaei M, 2013. Cultivation of Iranian seedless barberry (Berberis integerrima ‘Bidaneh’): a medicinal shrub.  Industrial Crops and Products 50: 276-287.
Andola HC, Rawal RS, and Bhatt ID, 2011. Comparative studies on the nutritive and anti-nutritive properties of fruits in selected Berberis species of West Himalaya, India. Food Research International 44: 2352-2356.
Anonymous, 2010. Islamic Republic of Iran Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Prepared by: Department of Environment, Iran, October 2010, 145pp (In Persian).
AOAC, 1984. Official Methods of Analysis. Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Washington, DC, USA. Pp. 1141.
Ashwell G, 1957. Colorimetric analysis of sugar. In: Colowick SP and Kaplan NO (Eds.). Methods in Enzymology, vol. 3. Academic Press, New York.
Barkley NA, Roose ML, Krueger RR, and Federici CT, 2006. Assessing genetic diversity and population structure in a citrus germplasm collection utilizing simple sequence repeat markers (SSRs). Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 112: 1519-1531.
Bataillon TM, David JL, and Schoen DJ, 1996. Neutral genetic markers and conservation: simulated germplasm collections. Genetics 144: 409-417.
Bottini MCJ, De Bustos A, and Jouve N, 2002. AFLP characterization of natural populations of Berberis (Berberidaceae) in Patagonia, Argentina. Plant Systematic and Evolution. 231(1): 133-142.
Bottini MCJ, De Bustos A, Sanso AM, Jouve N, and Poggio L, 2007. Relationships in Patagonian species of Berberis (Berberidaceae) based on the characterization of rDNA internal transcribed spacer sequences. Botanical Journal of Linnean Society 153(3): 321-328.
Bottini MCJ, Greizerstein EJ, and Aulicino MB, 2000. Relationships among genome size, environmental conditions and geographical distributions in natural populations of NW Patagonian species of Berberis. Annals of Botany 86(3): 565-573.
Bottini MCJ, Greizerstein EJ, and Paggio L, 1999. Ploidy levels and their relationships with the rainfall in several populations of Patagonian species of Berberis. Caryologia 52(1-2): 75-80.
Bracci T, Busconi M, and Fogher C, 2011. Molecular studies in olive (Olea europaea L.): overview on DNA markers applications and recent advances in genome analysis. Plant Cell Reports, 30(4): 449-462.
Cadic A, 1992. Breeding for ever-red barberries. Acta Horticulturea 320: 85-90.
Doyle JJ, 1987. A rapid DNA isolation procedure for small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochemical Bulletin 19: 11-15.
Fallahi J, Rezvni Moghaddam P, and Nasiri Mahallati M, 2010. The effect of harvesting date on quantitative and qualitative traits of barberry (Berberis vulgaris). Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research 8: 225-234 (In Persian with English abstract).
Farhadi Chitgar M, Varidi M, Varidi MJ, and Shahidi F, 2014. Evaluation of physical and chemical characteristics of three Iranian barberry species. Journal of Food Research 24(1): 63-76.
Handel EV, 1968. Direct micro determination of sucrose. Analytical Biochemistry 22: 280-283.
Heidary S, Marashi H, and Farsi M, 2009. Assessment of genetic structure and variation of native Berberis populations of Khorasan provinces (Iran) using AFLP markers versus morphological markers. Iranian Journal of Biotechnology 7(2): 101-108.
Kafi M, Balandary A, and Rashed-Mohasel MH, 2002. Berberis: Production and Processing. Zaban va Adab Press, Iran, pp. 1–209 (In Persian).
McCready RM, Guggolz J, and Silviera V, 1950. Determination of starch and amylase in vegetables. Annals of Chemistry 22: 1156-1158.
Miller GL, 1959. Use of dinitrosalicylic acid reagent for determination of reducing sugar. Analytical Biochemistry 31: 426-428.
Mokhber Dezfuli N, Saeidnia S, and Gohari AR, 2013. Phytochemistry and pharmacology of Berberis species. Pharmacognosy Review 8: 8-15.
Nachit MM, Elouafi I, and Pagnotta A, 2001. Molecular linkage maps for an intraspecific recombinant inbred population of durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 102: 177-186.
Nazari A, Afshari H, and Masoud Sinaki J, 2015. Relationship between height from sea level and physiological traits in wild ecotypes of Berberis vulgaris in Shahrood area. Seed and Plant Production 31(2): 119-126 (In Persian with English abstract).
Ovesna J, Polakova K, and Leisova L, 2002. DNA analyses and their applications in plant breeding. Czech Journal of Genetic and Plant Breeding 38: 29-40.
Rahimi-Madiseh M, Lorigoini Z, Zamani-gharaghoshi H, and Rafieian-Kopaei M, 2017. Berberis vulgaris: specifications and traditional uses. Iranian Journal of Basic and Medical Sciences 20: 569-587.
Rezaei M, Ebadi A, and Reim S, 2012. Molecular analysis of Iranian seedless barberries via SSR. Scientia Horticulturea 129: 702-709.
Rob C and Durka W, 2006. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers in the invasive shrub Mahonia aquifolium (Berberidaceae) and their applicability in related species. Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 948-950.
Roder MS, Korzun V, and Wendehake K, 1998. A microsatellite map of wheat. Genetics 149: 2007-2023.
Sagheb Talebi Kh, Pourhashemi M, and Sajedi T, 2014. Forests of Iran: A Treasure from the Past, a Hope for the Future. Springer.
SAS Institute, Inc. 2003. The SAS System for Windows, Release 8.2. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.
Senior ML, Mutphy JP, and Goodman MM, 1998. Utility of SSRs for determining genetic similarities and relationship in maize using an agarose gel system. Crop Science 38: 1088-1098.
Singh G, 2014. Molecular characterization in fruit crops- a review.  International Journal of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicines 3(2): 81-101.
Smith JSC, Chin ECL, and Shu H, 1997. An evaluation of the utility of SSR loci as molecular markers in maize (Zea mays L.): comparison with data from RFLPs and pedigree. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 95: 163-173.
Talebi S, 2019. Evaluation of morphological, biochemical and molecular diversity of some seeded barberry accessions collected from Khorasan and Golestan sites as compared with seedless barberry. PhD thesis, Hort. Department, Faculty of Plant Production, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Sciences, Gorgan, Golestan, Iran (In Persian with English abstract).
Tatari M, Ghasemi A, and Zeraatgar H, 2019. Assessment of genetic diversity of barberry germplasm (Berberis spp.) in central regions of Iran by morphological markers. Journal of Horticultural Research 27(1): 11-20.
Tehranifar A, 2003. Barberry growing in Iran. Acta Horticulturea 620: 193-195.
Varas B, Castro MH, and Rodriguez R, 2013. Identification and characterization of microsatellites from calafate (Berberis microphylla, Berberidaceae). Applications in Plant Sciences 1(7): 12-33.
Weising K, Winter P, and Huettel B, 2008. Microsatellite markers for molecular breeding. Journal of Crop Production 1(1):113-143.
Williams JG, Kubelik KAR, and Livak KJ, 1990. DNA polmorphisms amplified by arbitrary primers are useful as genetic markers. Nucleic Acids Research 18: 653-6553.
Zargari A, 1990. Medicinal Plants. Tehran University Press, Tehran, Iran (In Persian).
Zovko Koncic M, Kremer D, and Karlovic K, 2010. Evaluation of antioxidant activities and phenolic content of Berberis vulgaris L. and Berberis croatica Horvat. Food and Chemical Toxicology 48(2): 2176-2180.