Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) is a medicinal plant species valued in many countries in Asia and Europe for its phytochemical characteristics. Licorice biodiversity is becoming threatened nowadays in Iran due to increasing demand and a drastic decline of its natural habitats. Therefore, licorice domestication would be necessary in the near future, and molecular breeding would help to introduce genotypes suitable for cultivation.
The present study was carried out with 170 individual licorice plants sampled in the wild in 59 localizations in 21 provinces of Iran. The population structure analysis identified two main sub-populations with significant genetic variation. Significant associations were identified between three AFLP markers (E3/M40-4, E34/M4-12 and E12/M31-15) and glycyrrhizin concentration, and between four markers (E11/M34-12, E11/M34-15, E9/M7-29, and E9/M7-30) and phenolic compounds contents. Licorice sampled in four localizations (KBA1, KBA2, SKh2 and Fa1) were found to be superior in terms of glycyrrhizin and antioxidants content, and therefore they can be considered as elite genotypes which could be included in the domestication process.
This paper, published in the journal Phytochemistry in March 2021, continues the collaboration on licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) metabolism between the EEAD-CSIC and the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran - Isfahan Branch (Phytochemistry 2018, 156:124-134 ►; Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 2020, 42:103 ►). The first author of these studies, Marjan S. Hosseini, had a 6-month pre-doctoral FPI stage in the EEAD in 2017-2018.
Hosseini MS, Samsampour D, Ebrahimi M, Abadía J, Ghafoori IN, Amirian R, Morteza Khanahmadi M, Gogorcena Y (2021) Association analysis and molecular tagging of phytochemicals in the endangered medicinal plant licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.). Phytochemistry 183, 112629 (I.F. 2.905; Q1) ► (DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2020.112629)