Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is an ancient crop which cultivated commonly in various warm, drought and salty conditions of the Fertile Crescent. At first its flowers used as a fabric dye for food coloring and flavoring and medicinal purposes. Safflower edible oils were identified about 2000 years ago, so after that oil of safflower processed for cooking, salad oil and margarine (Weiss 1971; Mündel and Bergman 2009). Nowadays safflower has been concerned as a good model for great amount production of plant-made pharmaceuticals (Nykiforuk et al. 2011). The high content of unsaturated fatty acids of the oil of safflower made it a valuable nutrient oil. Standard lines of safflower commonly contain 27-32% oil by 6-8% Palmetic acid (C16:0), 2-3% Stearic acid (C18:0), 16-20% Oleic acid (C18:1) and 71-75% Linoleic acid (C18:2) (Velasco and Fernandez-Martinez 2001; Yeilaghi et al. 2012).
Genetic diversity refers to variation within and between living objects which is heritable. Assessment of genetic diversity is an essential tool for selection as well as for genetic improvement of plants (Ramanatha and Hodgkin 2002). Previously, studying on genetic diversity bounded by morphological, agronomical and biochemical parameters. In 1990s with the advent of molecular markers, analysis of genetic diversity was done with exploitation of DNA markers. In safflower utilizing of molecular markers initiated about one decade later for analyzing geographical genetic diversity and germplasm assessment (Sujatha 2008). Several molecular markers such as Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD), Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) markers and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) were applied in safflower accessions (Amini et al. 2008; Sehgal et al. 2009; Johnson et al. 2007). To progress in the genomic analysis of safflower it is necessary to have molecular markers with high polymorphic content, in this regard, some laboratories took efforts for the isolation and characterization of microsatellites. Chapman et al. (2009) published the first set of SSR markers for safflower, based on the safflower EST collection. This 104 EST-SSR markers were successfully used to screen polymorphism in the genus Carthamus (Chapman et al. 2009). Five EST-SSR markers generated by Naresh et al. (2009) that were beneficial for distinguishing of safflower hybrids (Naresh et al. 2009). The highest collection of SSRs in safflower reported by Mayerhofer et al. (2010) which produced more than 1000 SSR markers. These collections utilized for constructing inter- and intra-specific linkage maps and phylogenetic analysis of species in Carthamus (Mayerhofer et al. 2010; Bowles et al. 2010). Hamdan et al. (2011) developed 108 genomic SSRs for safflower from an SSR-enriched library. The author believed that they are informative markers for genetic assessment in safflower (Hamdan et al. 2011).
The objective of this study is to assess the genetic diversity of some safflower...