Genetic diversity of cultivated flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) germplasm assessed by retrotransposon-based markers

Retrotransposon segments were characterized and inter-retrotransposon amplified polymorphism (IRAP) markers developed for cultivated flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) and the Linum genus. Over 75 distinct long terminal repeat retrotransposon segments were cloned, the first set for Linum, and specific primers designed for them. IRAP was then used to evaluate genetic diversity among 708 accessions of cultivated flax. Application of Bayesian methods for clustering resulted in the robust identification of 20 clusters of accessions, which were unstratified according to origin or user type.These findings provide a basis for better flax germplasm management, core collection establishment, and exploration of diversity in breeding, as well as for exploration of the role of retrotransposons in flax genome dynamics.