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  • 1 Corvinus University of Budapest Department of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Faculty of Horticultural Sciences Villányi út 29-43 H-1118 Budapest Hungary
  • 2 University of Pécs Department of Plant Physiology, Institute of Biology Ifjúság útja 6 H-7624 Pécs Hungary
  • 3 University of Pécs Department of Plant Systematics and Geobotany, Institute of Biology Ifjúság útja 6 H-7624 Pécs Hungary
  • 4 University of Pécs Institute of Pharmacognosy, Medical School Rókus u. 2 H-7624 Pécs Hungary
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Chemical and genetic differences of twenty taxa belonging to four Thymus species were studied in order to determine whether molecular characters and essential oil components could be used as taxonomic markers and to examine the correlation between them. Plant samples, representing different taxa and geographic regions, were collected from experimentally grown populations. Essential oil samples were analysed by GC/MS and cluster analysis of volatile composition resulted in segregation of thymol chemotypes from sesquiterpenic ones. Thymol was characteristic for all the populations of Thymus glabrescens and T. pannonicus as well as for certain taxa belonging to T. praecox and T. pulegioides. Sesquiterpenes occurred in only two taxa of T. glabrescens, in each sample of T. praecox and in three taxa of T. pulegioides. Plant samples were analysed by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). The obtained dendrogram revealed high gene diversity. The 13 primers resulted 114 polymorphic RAPD bands, and the average percentage of polymorphism was 80.8%. The RAPD dendogram showed separation neither at interspecific nor at interpopulational levels. Therefore, further specific molecular studies involving more taxa are suggested. Partial correlation have been found between molecular and chemical assessments.

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