Date palms (Phoenix dactylifera, Arecaceae) are of great economic and ecological value to the oasis agriculture of arid and semi-arid areas. Zehdi-Azouzi et al. investigate genetic diversity levels and population genetic structure by genotyping a collection of 295 accessions ranging from Mauritania to Pakistan using a set of SSR markers and a plastid minisatellite. A Bayesian clustering approach shows that the genotypes can be structured into two different gene pools: an Eastern pool, consisting of accessions from Asia and Djibouti, and a Western pool, consisting of accessions from Africa. The results confirm the existence of two ancient gene pools that have contributed to the current diversity of date palm.
Population structure analysis reveals the existence of two ancient gene pools that have contributed to the current diversity of Old World date palm.