Morphological, cytological, physiological and genetic studies of Bassia indica (Amaranthaceae)
Bassia indica is a natural herb of medical and economic importance with a worldwide distribution, including in various regions of Egypt. It is primarily used for healing and is also considered a green fodder and can be used to remediate salty soils. We investigated morphological and germination parameters as well as the karyotype and genetic variation of B. indica by DNA-RAPD. Three samples of this species were collected from various localities in Egypt¸ namely the Northern Coast, the Delta region and Upper Egypt, which each represent different ecosystems. The morphological analysis, which included several traits, showed no significant difference between the localities. However, germination varied among the different populations from the different localities. The chromosomes of this species were found to be diploid, being 2n=18 at all localities. Genetic distances based on DNA-RAPD ranged from 0.13 to 0.31 in the samples from the different localities. A dendrogram based on these distances showed close similarity between the B. indica populations collected from the Delta region and Upper Egypt, indicating that they are closely related to each other, while both these populations are quite distant from those from the Northern Coast. This study provides useful information for the classification, chromosomal identification, and germination of B. indica in these regions that have distinct soils and climate.