Genetic diversity of Ocimum gratissimum L. based on volatile oil constituents, flavonoids and RAPD markers

Roberto F. Vieira, Renée J. Grayer, Alan Paton, James E. Simon

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152 Scopus citations


Morphological, chemical and genetic differences of 12 tree basil (Ocimum gratissimum L.) accessions were studied to determine whether volatile oils and flavonoids can be used as taxonomical markers and to examine the relationship between RAPDs to these chemical markers. Eugenol, thymol, and geraniol were the major volatile oil constituents found in Ocimum gratissimum. Xantomicrol and cirsimaritin were the major external flavones. The accessions morphologically described as O. gratissimum var. gratissimum contained eugenol as the major volatile oil constituent, and cirsimaritin as the major flavone. Ocimum gratissimum var. macrophyllum accessions contained thymol as the major volatile oil constituent, and xantomicrol as the major flavone. A distinct essential oil and flavone chemotype (producing geraniol and a mixture of the flavones cirsimaritin, isothymusin, xanthomicrol, and luteolin) was found in an accession genetically more distant from the other two groups when analyzed by molecular markers. The accessions could be divided based on volatile oil constituents into six groups: (1) thymol: α-copaene (ot24, ot25, ot26, and ot28); (2) eugenol:spathulenol (ot17, ot63, and ot52); (3) thymol:p-cymene (ot65); (4) eugenol: γ-muurolene (ot27 and ot29); (5) eugenol:thymol: spathulenol (ot85); and (6) geraniol (ot84). Cluster analysis of RAPD markers showed that there are three groups that are distinct genetically and highly correlated (r = 0.814) to volatile oil constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-304
Number of pages18
JournalBiochemical Systematics and Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 27 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


  • Cirsimaritin
  • Essential oils
  • Eugenol
  • External flavones
  • Geraniol
  • Lamiaceae
  • Molecular markers
  • Thymol
  • Tree basil
  • Xantomicrol

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