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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Microsatellite analysis of Damask rose (Rosa damascena Mill.) accessions from various regions in Iran reveals multiple genotypes

Alireza Babaei1, Seyed Reza Tabaei-Aghdaei2, Morteza Khosh-Khui3, Reza Omidbaigi1, Mohammad Reza Naghavi4, Gerhard D Esselink5 and Marinus JM Smulders5*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Horticultural Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, P.O. Box 14115-365, Tehran, Iran

2 Biotechnology Research Department of Natural Resources, Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, P.O. Box 13185-116, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Horticultural Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

4 Department of Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

5 Plant Research International, Wageningen UR, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands

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BMC Plant Biology 2007, 7:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-7-12

Published: 8 March 2007



Damask roses (Rosa damascena Mill.) are mainly used for essential oil production. Previous studies have indicated that all production material in Bulgaria and Turkey consists of only one genotype. Nine polymorphic microsatellite markers were used to analyze the genetic diversity of 40 accessions of R. damascena collected across major and minor rose oil production areas in Iran.


All microsatellite markers showed a high level of polymorphism (5–15 alleles per microsatellite marker, with an average of 9.11 alleles per locus). Cluster analysis of genetic similarities revealed that these microsatellites identified a total of nine different genotypes. The genotype from Isfahan province, which is the major production area, was by far the most common genotype (27/40 accessions). It was identical to the Bulgarian genotype. Other genotypes (each represented by 1–4 accessions) were collected from minor production areas in several provinces, notably in the mountainous Northwest of Iran.


This is the first study that uncovered genetic diversity within Damask rose. Our results will guide new collection activities to establish larger collections and manage the Iranian Damask rose genetic resources. The genotypes identified here may be directly useful for breeding.