1.0 RESEARCH BACKGROUND
Eurycoma longifolia or locally known as “Tongkat Ali” belongs to the family of Simarobacea. It is a small tree with maximum height of 15-18 m and it is believed that for complete maturity of this plant might take up to 25 years (Bhat and Karim, 2010). This plant is crowned by an umbrella-like structure of leafs and usually does not have significant branches and its main root is usually unbranched, cylindrical in shape, yellowish white in color and it tastes very bitter. The fruits are green in color and turn to dark red after ripening and this plant only bears fruit after 2-3 years ' cultivation (Subramaniam, 2013).
Recently, E. Longifolia has received considerable attention due to its pharmacological importance, such as aphrodisiac, antimalarial, antiulcer, and antimicrobial properties (Bhat and Karim, 2010). This plant is also listed in five herbal of focus in National Key Economic Areas in Malaysia (PEMANDU, 2013). Scientific studies on this plant species have encompassed its chemical fingerprinting, medicinal usage and molecular markers. However, the genetic diversity study of this plant species is still in its infancy (Osman et al., 2003).
Molecular markers have proven to provide a precise assessment and identification of plant cultivars (Lee et al., 2011) as compared to biochemical and phenotypic markers which are facing problems from low polymorphism (Kalendar et al., 1999). Identification of plant cultivars is very important for breeding