Article ID: 19022
Oil palm is continually being improved via controlled crossing of selected palms to ensure sustainable yields and productivity. As such, correct parental assignment is important as the presence of illegitimates will compromise the progress of improvement. In the present study, we determined the optimal number of microsatellite (SSR) markers for detection of illegitimates in selected oil palm crosses with high confidence. Determining the optimal number of markers to assign parentage will ensure that the DNA fingerprinting will be cost effective for routine use as a quality control tool in oil palm improvement programs. Here, we evaluated a wide range of crosses that included a cross derived from wild germplasm palm. The results revealed that markers with high PIC are informative and detect most of the alleles present in a cross, including those exhibited by the illegitimates. A larger number of optimum sets of markers are needed to detect all illegitimates for crosses with higher levels of genetic diversity. The optimal number of polymorphic SSR markers determined in the present study can ensure that appropriate quality control is implemented for oil palm improvement programs.