|Authors: ||T. Rinehart, C. Pounders, Xinwang Wang, M. Pooler|
|Keywords: ||interspecific hybridization, microsatellite markers|
The most recent and widely accepted taxonomic revision of Lagerstroemia occurred in 1969 and is based on morphological characters.
As described, the genus is split into three sections and includes more than 50 species, several of which are grown for lumber in Asia and the Philippines.
Three species, L. indica, L. fauriei, and L. speciose, are cultivated as ornamental trees.
Crapemyrtle breeding in the United States began with L. indica but is now dominated by interspecific hybrids between L. indica and L. fauriei, mostly to improve resistance to powdery mildew.
Recently interspecific hybrids have been created between L. indica and L. speciose to increase flower size.
Resulting progeny were sterile, suggesting a need to find bridging species or use embryo rescue.
While most Lagerstroemia species lack the hardiness to be grown as ornamentals in colder temperate zones, there is potential for interspecific combinations to improve growth habit, disease resistance, and flower size.
We used SSRs to assess genetic diversity and relatedness, and predict wide hybridization success.
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