Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) is a major turfgrass for home lawns, public parks, golf courses and sport fields and is known to have originated in the Middle East. Morphological and physiological characteristics are not sufficient to differentiate some bermudagrass genotypes because the differences between them are often subtle and subjected to environmental influences. In this study, twenty seven bermudagrass accessions and introductions, mostly from different parts of Iran, were assayed by inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers to differentiate and explore their genetic relationships. Fourteen ISSR primers amplified 389 fragments of which 313 (80.5%) were polymorphic. The average polymorphism information content (PIC) was 0.328, which shows that the majority of primers are informative. Cluster analysis using the un-weighted paired group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA) method and Jaccard's similarity coefficient (r = 0.828) grouped the accessions into six main clusters according to some degree to geographical origin, their chromosome number and some morphological characteristics. It can be concluded that there exists a wide genetic base of bermudograss in Iran and that ISSR markers are effective in determining genetic diversity and relationships among them.
Keywords: ISSR; Iran; bermudagrass; genetic diversity.