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1.  Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46919.
Knowing the extent and structure of genetic variation in germplasm collections is essential for the conservation and utilization of biodiversity in cultivated plants. Cucumber is the fourth most important vegetable crop worldwide and is a model system for other Cucurbitaceae, a family that also includes melon, watermelon, pumpkin and squash. Previous isozyme studies revealed a low genetic diversity in cucumber, but detailed insights into the crop's genetic structure and diversity are largely missing. We have fingerprinted 3,342 accessions from the Chinese, Dutch and U.S. cucumber collections with 23 highly polymorphic Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers evenly distributed in the genome. The data reveal three distinct populations, largely corresponding to three geographic regions. Population 1 corresponds to germplasm from China, except for the unique semi-wild landraces found in Xishuangbanna in Southwest China and East Asia; population 2 to Europe, America, and Central and West Asia; and population 3 to India and Xishuangbanna. Admixtures were also detected, reflecting hybridization and migration events between the populations. The genetic background of the Indian germplasm is heterogeneous, indicating that the Indian cucumbers maintain a large proportion of the genetic diversity and that only a small fraction was introduced to other parts of the world. Subsequently, we defined a core collection consisting of 115 accessions and capturing over 77% of the SSR alleles. Insight into the genetic structure of cucumber will help developing appropriate conservation strategies and provides a basis for population-level genome sequencing in cucumber.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046919
PMCID: PMC3470563  PMID: 23071663
2.  Integration of High-Resolution Physical and Genetic Map Reveals Differential Recombination Frequency between Chromosomes and the Genome Assembling Quality in Cucumber 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62676.
Cucumber is an important model crop and the first species sequenced in Cucurbitaceae family. Compared to the fast increasing genetic and genomics resources, the molecular cytogenetic researches in cucumber are still very limited, which results in directly the shortage of relation between plenty of physical sequences or genetic data and chromosome structure. We mapped twenty-three fosmids anchored by SSR markers from LG-3, the longest linkage group, and LG-4, the shortest linkage group on pachytene chromosomes 3 and 4, using uorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Integrated molecular cytogenetic maps of chromosomes 3 and 4 were constructed. Except for three SSR markers located on heterochromatin region, the cytological order of markers was concordant with those on the linkage maps. Distinct structural differences between chromosomes 3 and 4 were revealed by the high resolution pachytene chromosomes. The extreme difference of genetic length between LG-3 and LG-4 was mainly attributed to the difference of overall recombination frequency. The significant differentiation of heterochromatin contents in chromosomes 3 and 4 might have a direct correlation with recombination frequency. Meanwhile, the uneven distribution of recombination frequency along chromosome 4 was observed, and recombination frequency of the long arm was nearly 3.5 times higher than that of the short arm. The severe suppression of recombination was exhibited in centromeric and heterochromatin domains of chromosome 4. Whereas a close correlation between the gene density and recombination frequency was observed in chromosome 4, no significant correlation was observed between them along chromosome 3. The comparison between cytogenetic and sequence maps revealed a large gap on the pericentromeric heterochromatin region of sequence map of chromosome 4. These results showed that integrated molecular cytogenetic maps can provide important information for the study of genetic and genomics in cucumber.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062676
PMCID: PMC3646037  PMID: 23671621
3.  Syntenic relationships between cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) and melon (C. melo L.) chromosomes as revealed by comparative genetic mapping 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:396.
Background
Cucumber, Cucumis sativus L. (2n = 2 × = 14) and melon, C. melo L. (2n = 2 × = 24) are two important vegetable species in the genus Cucumis (family Cucurbitaceae). Both species have an Asian origin that diverged approximately nine million years ago. Cucumber is believed to have evolved from melon through chromosome fusion, but the details of this process are largely unknown. In this study, comparative genetic mapping between cucumber and melon was conducted to examine syntenic relationships of their chromosomes.
Results
Using two melon mapping populations, 154 and 127 cucumber SSR markers were added onto previously reported F2- and RIL-based genetic maps, respectively. A consensus melon linkage map was developed through map integration, which contained 401 co-dominant markers in 12 linkage groups including 199 markers derived from the cucumber genome. Syntenic relationships between melon and cucumber chromosomes were inferred based on associations between markers on the consensus melon map and cucumber draft genome scaffolds. It was determined that cucumber Chromosome 7 was syntenic to melon Chromosome I. Cucumber Chromosomes 2 and 6 each contained genomic regions that were syntenic with melon chromosomes III+V+XI and III+VIII+XI, respectively. Likewise, cucumber Chromosomes 1, 3, 4, and 5 each was syntenic with genomic regions of two melon chromosomes previously designated as II+XII, IV+VI, VII+VIII, and IX+X, respectively. However, the marker orders in several syntenic blocks on these consensus linkage maps were not co-linear suggesting that more complicated structural changes beyond simple chromosome fusion events have occurred during the evolution of cucumber.
Conclusions
Comparative mapping conducted herein supported the hypothesis that cucumber chromosomes may be the result of chromosome fusion from a 24-chromosome progenitor species. Except for a possible inversion, cucumber Chromosome 7 has largely remained intact in the past nine million years since its divergence from melon. Meanwhile, many structural changes may have occurred during the evolution of the remaining six cucumber chromosomes. Further characterization of the genomic nature of Cucumis species closely related to cucumber and melon might provide a better understanding of the evolutionary history leading to modern cucumber.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-396
PMCID: PMC3199783  PMID: 21816110
Cucumber; Melon; Cucumis; Microsatellite; Comparative mapping; Chromosome evolution
4.  A high-resolution cucumber cytogenetic map integrated with the genome assembly 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:461.
Background
High-resolution cytogenetic map can provide not only important biological information on genome organization but also solid foundation for genetic and genomic research. The progress in the molecular and cytogenetic studies has created the basis for developing the cytogenetic map in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.).
Results
Here, the cytogenetic maps of four cucumber chromosomes (chromosomes 1, 3–5) were constructed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis on cucumber pachytene chromosomes. Together with our previously constructed cytogenetic maps of three cucumber chromosomes (chromosomes 2, 6–7), cucumber has a complete cytogenetic map with 76 anchoring points between the genetic, the cytogenetic and the draft genome assembly maps. To compare our pachytene FISH map directly to the genetic linkage and draft genome assembly maps, we used a standardized map unit—relative map position (RMP) to produce the comparative map alignments. The alignments allowed a global view of the relationship of genetic and physical distances along each cucumber chromosome, and accuracy and coverage of the draft genome assembly map.
Conclusions
We demonstrated a good correlation between positions of the markers in the linkage and physical maps, and essentially complete coverage of chromosome arms by the draft genome assembly. Our study not only provides essential information for the improvement of sequence assembly but also offers molecular tools for cucumber genomics research, comparative genomics and evolutionary study.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-461
PMCID: PMC3710503  PMID: 23834562
5.  An integrated molecular cytogenetic map of Cucumis sativus L. chromosome 2 
BMC Genetics  2011;12:18.
Background
Integration of molecular, genetic and cytological maps is still a challenge for most plant species. Recent progress in molecular and cytogenetic studies created a basis for developing integrated maps in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.).
Results
In this study, eleven fosmid clones and three plasmids containing 45S rDNA, the centromeric satellite repeat Type III and the pericentriomeric repeat CsRP1 sequences respectively were hybridized to cucumber metaphase chromosomes to assign their cytological location on chromosome 2. Moreover, an integrated molecular cytogenetic map of cucumber chromosomes 2 was constructed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) mapping of 11 fosmid clones together with the cucumber centromere-specific Type III sequence on meiotic pachytene chromosomes. The cytogenetic map was fully integrated with genetic linkage map since each fosmid clone was anchored by a genetically mapped simple sequence repeat marker (SSR). The relationship between the genetic and physical distances along chromosome was analyzed.
Conclusions
Recombination was not evenly distributed along the physical length of chromosome 2. Suppression of recombination was found in centromeric and pericentromeric regions. Our results also indicated that the molecular markers composing the linkage map for chromosome 2 provided excellent coverage of the chromosome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-18
PMCID: PMC3039625  PMID: 21272311
6.  Analysis of expressed sequence tags generated from full-length enriched cDNA libraries of melon 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:252.
Background
Melon (Cucumis melo), an economically important vegetable crop, belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family which includes several other important crops such as watermelon, cucumber, and pumpkin. It has served as a model system for sex determination and vascular biology studies. However, genomic resources currently available for melon are limited.
Result
We constructed eleven full-length enriched and four standard cDNA libraries from fruits, flowers, leaves, roots, cotyledons, and calluses of four different melon genotypes, and generated 71,577 and 22,179 ESTs from full-length enriched and standard cDNA libraries, respectively. These ESTs, together with ~35,000 ESTs available in public domains, were assembled into 24,444 unigenes, which were extensively annotated by comparing their sequences to different protein and functional domain databases, assigning them Gene Ontology (GO) terms, and mapping them onto metabolic pathways. Comparative analysis of melon unigenes and other plant genomes revealed that 75% to 85% of melon unigenes had homologs in other dicot plants, while approximately 70% had homologs in monocot plants. The analysis also identified 6,972 gene families that were conserved across dicot and monocot plants, and 181, 1,192, and 220 gene families specific to fleshy fruit-bearing plants, the Cucurbitaceae family, and melon, respectively. Digital expression analysis identified a total of 175 tissue-specific genes, which provides a valuable gene sequence resource for future genomics and functional studies. Furthermore, we identified 4,068 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and 3,073 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the melon EST collection. Finally, we obtained a total of 1,382 melon full-length transcripts through the analysis of full-length enriched cDNA clones that were sequenced from both ends. Analysis of these full-length transcripts indicated that sizes of melon 5' and 3' UTRs were similar to those of tomato, but longer than many other dicot plants. Codon usages of melon full-length transcripts were largely similar to those of Arabidopsis coding sequences.
Conclusion
The collection of melon ESTs generated from full-length enriched and standard cDNA libraries is expected to play significant roles in annotating the melon genome. The ESTs and associated analysis results will be useful resources for gene discovery, functional analysis, marker-assisted breeding of melon and closely related species, comparative genomic studies and for gaining insights into gene expression patterns.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-252
PMCID: PMC3118787  PMID: 21599934
7.  Comparative mapping in the Fagaceae and beyond with EST-SSRs 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:153.
Background
Genetic markers and linkage mapping are basic prerequisites for comparative genetic analyses, QTL detection and map-based cloning. A large number of mapping populations have been developed for oak, but few gene-based markers are available for constructing integrated genetic linkage maps and comparing gene order and QTL location across related species.
Results
We developed a set of 573 expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeats (EST-SSRs) and located 397 markers (EST-SSRs and genomic SSRs) on the 12 oak chromosomes (2n = 2x = 24) on the basis of Mendelian segregation patterns in 5 full-sib mapping pedigrees of two species: Quercus robur (pedunculate oak) and Quercus petraea (sessile oak). Consensus maps for the two species were constructed and aligned. They showed a high degree of macrosynteny between these two sympatric European oaks. We assessed the transferability of EST-SSRs to other Fagaceae genera and a subset of these markers was mapped in Castanea sativa, the European chestnut. Reasonably high levels of macrosynteny were observed between oak and chestnut. We also obtained diversity statistics for a subset of EST-SSRs, to support further population genetic analyses with gene-based markers. Finally, based on the orthologous relationships between the oak, Arabidopsis, grape, poplar, Medicago, and soybean genomes and the paralogous relationships between the 12 oak chromosomes, we propose an evolutionary scenario of the 12 oak chromosomes from the eudicot ancestral karyotype.
Conclusions
This study provides map locations for a large set of EST-SSRs in two oak species of recognized biological importance in natural ecosystems. This first step toward the construction of a gene-based linkage map will facilitate the assignment of future genome scaffolds to pseudo-chromosomes. This study also provides an indication of the potential utility of new gene-based markers for population genetics and comparative mapping within and beyond the Fagaceae.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-153
PMCID: PMC3493355  PMID: 22931513
8.  Determination of the melon chloroplast and mitochondrial genome sequences reveals that the largest reported mitochondrial genome in plants contains a significant amount of DNA having a nuclear origin 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:424.
Background
The melon belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, whose economic importance among vegetable crops is second only to Solanaceae. The melon has a small genome size (454 Mb), which makes it suitable for molecular and genetic studies. Despite similar nuclear and chloroplast genome sizes, cucurbits show great variation when their mitochondrial genomes are compared. The melon possesses the largest plant mitochondrial genome, as much as eight times larger than that of other cucurbits.
Results
The nucleotide sequences of the melon chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes were determined. The chloroplast genome (156,017 bp) included 132 genes, with 98 single-copy genes dispersed between the small (SSC) and large (LSC) single-copy regions and 17 duplicated genes in the inverted repeat regions (IRa and IRb). A comparison of the cucumber and melon chloroplast genomes showed differences in only approximately 5% of nucleotides, mainly due to short indels and SNPs. Additionally, 2.74 Mb of mitochondrial sequence, accounting for 95% of the estimated mitochondrial genome size, were assembled into five scaffolds and four additional unscaffolded contigs. An 84% of the mitochondrial genome is contained in a single scaffold. The gene-coding region accounted for 1.7% (45,926 bp) of the total sequence, including 51 protein-coding genes, 4 conserved ORFs, 3 rRNA genes and 24 tRNA genes. Despite the differences observed in the mitochondrial genome sizes of cucurbit species, Citrullus lanatus (379 kb), Cucurbita pepo (983 kb) and Cucumis melo (2,740 kb) share 120 kb of sequence, including the predicted protein-coding regions. Nevertheless, melon contained a high number of repetitive sequences and a high content of DNA of nuclear origin, which represented 42% and 47% of the total sequence, respectively.
Conclusions
Whereas the size and gene organisation of chloroplast genomes are similar among the cucurbit species, mitochondrial genomes show a wide variety of sizes, with a non-conserved structure both in gene number and organisation, as well as in the features of the noncoding DNA. The transfer of nuclear DNA to the melon mitochondrial genome and the high proportion of repetitive DNA appear to explain the size of the largest mitochondrial genome reported so far.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-424
PMCID: PMC3175227  PMID: 21854637
9.  A set of EST-SNPs for map saturation and cultivar identification in melon 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:90.
Background
There are few genomic tools available in melon (Cucumis melo L.), a member of the Cucurbitaceae, despite its importance as a crop. Among these tools, genetic maps have been constructed mainly using marker types such as simple sequence repeats (SSR), restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) and amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) in different mapping populations. There is a growing need for saturating the genetic map with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), more amenable for high throughput analysis, especially if these markers are located in gene coding regions, to provide functional markers. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from melon are available in public databases, and resequencing ESTs or validating SNPs detected in silico are excellent ways to discover SNPs.
Results
EST-based SNPs were discovered after resequencing ESTs between the parental lines of the PI 161375 (SC) × 'Piel de sapo' (PS) genetic map or using in silico SNP information from EST databases. In total 200 EST-based SNPs were mapped in the melon genetic map using a bin-mapping strategy, increasing the map density to 2.35 cM/marker. A subset of 45 SNPs was used to study variation in a panel of 48 melon accessions covering a wide range of the genetic diversity of the species. SNP analysis correctly reflected the genetic relationships compared with other marker systems, being able to distinguish all the accessions and cultivars.
Conclusion
This is the first example of a genetic map in a cucurbit species that includes a major set of SNP markers discovered using ESTs. The PI 161375 × 'Piel de sapo' melon genetic map has around 700 markers, of which more than 500 are gene-based markers (SNP, RFLP and SSR). This genetic map will be a central tool for the construction of the melon physical map, the step prior to sequencing the complete genome. Using the set of SNP markers, it was possible to define the genetic relationships within a collection of forty-eight melon accessions as efficiently as with SSR markers, and these markers may also be useful for cultivar identification in Occidental melon varieties.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-90
PMCID: PMC2722630  PMID: 19604363
10.  Generation of a BAC-based physical map of the melon genome 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:339.
Background
Cucumis melo (melon) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, whose economic importance among horticulture crops is second only to Solanaceae. Melon has high intra-specific genetic variation, morphologic diversity and a small genome size (450 Mb), which make this species suitable for a great variety of molecular and genetic studies that can lead to the development of tools for breeding varieties of the species. A number of genetic and genomic resources have already been developed, such as several genetic maps and BAC genomic libraries. These tools are essential for the construction of a physical map, a valuable resource for map-based cloning, comparative genomics and assembly of whole genome sequencing data. However, no physical map of any Cucurbitaceae has yet been developed. A project has recently been started to sequence the complete melon genome following a whole-genome shotgun strategy, which makes use of massive sequencing data. A BAC-based melon physical map will be a useful tool to help assemble and refine the draft genome data that is being produced.
Results
A melon physical map was constructed using a 5.7 × BAC library and a genetic map previously developed in our laboratories. High-information-content fingerprinting (HICF) was carried out on 23,040 BAC clones, digesting with five restriction enzymes and SNaPshot labeling, followed by contig assembly with FPC software. The physical map has 1,355 contigs and 441 singletons, with an estimated physical length of 407 Mb (0.9 × coverage of the genome) and the longest contig being 3.2 Mb. The anchoring of 845 BAC clones to 178 genetic markers (100 RFLPs, 76 SNPs and 2 SSRs) also allowed the genetic positioning of 183 physical map contigs/singletons, representing 55 Mb (12%) of the melon genome, to individual chromosomal loci. The melon FPC database is available for download at http://melonomics.upv.es/static/files/public/physical_map/.
Conclusions
Here we report the construction of the first physical map of a Cucurbitaceae species described so far. The physical map was integrated with the genetic map so that a number of physical contigs, representing 12% of the melon genome, could be anchored to known genetic positions. The data presented is already helping to improve the quality of the melon genomic sequence available as a result of a project currently being carried out in Spain, adopting a whole genome shotgun approach based on 454 sequencing data.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-339
PMCID: PMC2894041  PMID: 20509895
11.  Construction and analysis of a high-density genetic linkage map in cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata) 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:523.
Background
Brassica oleracea encompass a family of vegetables and cabbage that are among the most widely cultivated crops. In 2009, the B. oleracea Genome Sequencing Project was launched using next generation sequencing technology. None of the available maps were detailed enough to anchor the sequence scaffolds for the Genome Sequencing Project. This report describes the development of a large number of SSR and SNP markers from the whole genome shotgun sequence data of B. oleracea, and the construction of a high-density genetic linkage map using a double haploid mapping population.
Results
The B. oleracea high-density genetic linkage map that was constructed includes 1,227 markers in nine linkage groups spanning a total of 1197.9 cM with an average of 0.98 cM between adjacent loci. There were 602 SSR markers and 625 SNP markers on the map. The chromosome with the highest number of markers (186) was C03, and the chromosome with smallest number of markers (99) was C09.
Conclusions
This first high-density map allowed the assembled scaffolds to be anchored to pseudochromosomes. The map also provides useful information for positional cloning, molecular breeding, and integration of information of genes and traits in B. oleracea. All the markers on the map will be transferable and could be used for the construction of other genetic maps.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-523
PMCID: PMC3542169  PMID: 23033896
Cabbage; Brassica; Genetic linkage map; SSR; SNP; Genome
12.  Genome structure of cotton revealed by a genome-wide SSR genetic map constructed from a BC1 population between gossypium hirsutum and G. barbadense 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:15.
Background
Cotton, with a large genome, is an important crop throughout the world. A high-density genetic linkage map is the prerequisite for cotton genetics and breeding. A genetic map based on simple polymerase chain reaction markers will be efficient for marker-assisted breeding in cotton, and markers from transcribed sequences have more chance to target genes related to traits. To construct a genome-wide, functional marker-based genetic linkage map in cotton, we isolated and mapped expressed sequence tag-simple sequence repeats (EST-SSRs) from cotton ESTs derived from the A1, D5, (AD)1, and (AD)2 genome.
Results
A total of 3177 new EST-SSRs developed in our laboratory and other newly released SSRs were used to enrich our interspecific BC1 genetic linkage map. A total of 547 loci and 911 loci were obtained from our EST-SSRs and the newly released SSRs, respectively. The 1458 loci together with our previously published data were used to construct an updated genetic linkage map. The final map included 2316 loci on the 26 cotton chromosomes, 4418.9 cM in total length and 1.91 cM in average distance between adjacent markers. To our knowledge, this map is one of the three most dense linkage maps in cotton. Twenty-one segregation distortion regions (SDRs) were found in this map; three segregation distorted chromosomes, Chr02, Chr16, and Chr18, were identified with 99.9% of distorted markers segregating toward the heterozygous allele. Functional analysis of SSR sequences showed that 1633 loci of this map (70.6%) were transcribed loci and 1332 loci (57.5%) were translated loci.
Conclusions
This map lays groundwork for further genetic analyses of important quantitative traits, marker-assisted selection, and genome organization architecture in cotton as well as for comparative genomics between cotton and other species. The segregation distorted chromosomes can be a guide to identify segregation distortion loci in cotton. The annotation of SSR sequences identified frequent and rare gene ontology items on each chromosome, which is helpful to discover functions of cotton chromosomes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-15
PMCID: PMC3031231  PMID: 21214949
13.  Integration of physical and genetic maps in apple confirms whole-genome and segmental duplications in the apple genome 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;62(14):5117-5130.
A total of 355 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were developed, based on expressed sequence tag (EST) and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-end sequence databases, and successfully used to construct an SSR-based genetic linkage map of the apple. The consensus linkage map spanned 1143 cM, with an average density of 2.5 cM per marker. Newly developed SSR markers along with 279 SSR markers previously published by the HiDRAS project were further used to integrate physical and genetic maps of the apple using a PCR-based BAC library screening approach. A total of 470 contigs were unambiguously anchored onto all 17 linkage groups of the apple genome, and 158 contigs contained two or more molecular markers. The genetically mapped contigs spanned ∼421 Mb in cumulative physical length, representing 60.0% of the genome. The sizes of anchored contigs ranged from 97 kb to 4.0 Mb, with an average of 995 kb. The average physical length of anchored contigs on each linkage group was ∼24.8 Mb, ranging from 17.0 Mb to 37.73 Mb. Using BAC DNA as templates, PCR screening of the BAC library amplified fragments of highly homologous sequences from homoeologous chromosomes. Upon integrating physical and genetic maps of the apple, the presence of not only homoeologous chromosome pairs, but also of multiple locus markers mapped to adjacent sites on the same chromosome was detected. These findings demonstrated the presence of both genome-wide and segmental duplications in the apple genome and provided further insights into the complex polyploid ancestral origin of the apple.
doi:10.1093/jxb/err215
PMCID: PMC3193016  PMID: 21743103
Genetic map; genome duplication; Malus×domestica; physical map; segmental duplication; simple sequence repeat
14.  A consensus linkage map for molecular markers and Quantitative Trait Loci associated with economically important traits in melon (Cucumis melo L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:111.
Background
A number of molecular marker linkage maps have been developed for melon (Cucumis melo L.) over the last two decades. However, these maps were constructed using different marker sets, thus, making comparative analysis among maps difficult. In order to solve this problem, a consensus genetic map in melon was constructed using primarily highly transferable anchor markers that have broad potential use for mapping, synteny, and comparative quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis, increasing breeding effectiveness and efficiency via marker-assisted selection (MAS).
Results
Under the framework of the International Cucurbit Genomics Initiative (ICuGI, http://www.icugi.org), an integrated genetic map has been constructed by merging data from eight independent mapping experiments using a genetically diverse array of parental lines. The consensus map spans 1150 cM across the 12 melon linkage groups and is composed of 1592 markers (640 SSRs, 330 SNPs, 252 AFLPs, 239 RFLPs, 89 RAPDs, 15 IMAs, 16 indels and 11 morphological traits) with a mean marker density of 0.72 cM/marker. One hundred and ninety-six of these markers (157 SSRs, 32 SNPs, 6 indels and 1 RAPD) were newly developed, mapped or provided by industry representatives as released markers, including 27 SNPs and 5 indels from genes involved in the organic acid metabolism and transport, and 58 EST-SSRs. Additionally, 85 of 822 SSR markers contributed by Syngenta Seeds were included in the integrated map. In addition, 370 QTL controlling 62 traits from 18 previously reported mapping experiments using genetically diverse parental genotypes were also integrated into the consensus map. Some QTL associated with economically important traits detected in separate studies mapped to similar genomic positions. For example, independently identified QTL controlling fruit shape were mapped on similar genomic positions, suggesting that such QTL are possibly responsible for the phenotypic variability observed for this trait in a broad array of melon germplasm.
Conclusions
Even though relatively unsaturated genetic maps in a diverse set of melon market types have been published, the integrated saturated map presented herein should be considered the initial reference map for melon. Most of the mapped markers contained in the reference map are polymorphic in diverse collection of germplasm, and thus are potentially transferrable to a broad array of genetic experimentation (e.g., integration of physical and genetic maps, colinearity analysis, map-based gene cloning, epistasis dissection, and marker-assisted selection).
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-111
PMCID: PMC3163537  PMID: 21797998
15.  Development of microsatellite markers from an enriched genomic library for genetic analysis of melon (Cucumis melo L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2004;4:9.
Background
Despite the great advances in genomic technology observed in several crop species, the availability of molecular tools such as microsatellite markers has been limited in melon (Cucumis melo L.) and cucurbit species. The development of microsatellite markers will have a major impact on genetic analysis and breeding of melon, especially on the generation of marker saturated genetic maps and implementation of marker assisted breeding programs. Genomic microsatellite enriched libraries can be an efficient alternative for marker development in such species.
Results
Seven hundred clones containing microsatellite sequences from a Tsp-AG/TC microsatellite enriched library were identified and one-hundred and forty-four primer pairs designed and synthesized. When 67 microsatellite markers were tested on a panel of melon and other cucurbit accessions, 65 revealed DNA polymorphisms among the melon accessions. For some cucurbit species, such as Cucumis sativus, up to 50% of the melon microsatellite markers could be readily used for DNA polymophism assessment, representing a significant reduction of marker development costs. A random sample of 25 microsatellite markers was extracted from the new microsatellite marker set and characterized on 40 accessions of melon, generating an allelic frequency database for the species. The average expected heterozygosity was 0.52, varying from 0.45 to 0.70, indicating that a small set of selected markers should be sufficient to solve questions regarding genotype identity and variety protection. Genetic distances based on microsatellite polymorphism were congruent with data obtained from RAPD marker analysis. Mapping analysis was initiated with 55 newly developed markers and most primers showed segregation according to Mendelian expectations. Linkage analysis detected linkage between 56% of the markers, distributed in nine linkage groups.
Conclusions
Genomic library microsatellite enrichment is an efficient procedure for marker development in melon. One-hundred and forty-four new markers were developed from Tsp-AG/TC genomic library. This is the first reported attempt of successfully using enriched library for microsatellite marker development in the species. A sample of the microsatellite markers tested proved efficient for genetic analysis of melon, including genetic distance estimates and identity tests. Linkage analysis indicated that the markers developed are dispersed throughout the genome and should be very useful for genetic analysis of melon.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-4-9
PMCID: PMC419974  PMID: 15149552
16.  Frequent loss of lineages and deficient duplications accounted for low copy number of disease resistance genes in Cucurbitaceae 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:335.
Background
The sequenced genomes of cucumber, melon and watermelon have relatively few R-genes, with 70, 75 and 55 copies only, respectively. The mechanism for low copy number of R-genes in Cucurbitaceae genomes remains unknown.
Results
Manual annotation of R-genes in the sequenced genomes of Cucurbitaceae species showed that approximately half of them are pseudogenes. Comparative analysis of R-genes showed frequent loss of R-gene loci in different Cucurbitaceae species. Phylogenetic analysis, data mining and PCR cloning using degenerate primers indicated that Cucurbitaceae has limited number of R-gene lineages (subfamilies). Comparison between R-genes from Cucurbitaceae and those from poplar and soybean suggested frequent loss of R-gene lineages in Cucurbitaceae. Furthermore, the average number of R-genes per lineage in Cucurbitaceae species is approximately 1/3 that in soybean or poplar. Therefore, both loss of lineages and deficient duplications in extant lineages accounted for the low copy number of R-genes in Cucurbitaceae. No extensive chimeras of R-genes were found in any of the sequenced Cucurbitaceae genomes. Nevertheless, one lineage of R-genes from Trichosanthes kirilowii, a wild Cucurbitaceae species, exhibits chimeric structures caused by gene conversions, and may contain a large number of distinct R-genes in natural populations.
Conclusions
Cucurbitaceae species have limited number of R-gene lineages and each genome harbors relatively few R-genes. The scarcity of R-genes in Cucurbitaceae species was due to frequent loss of R-gene lineages and infrequent duplications in extant lineages. The evolutionary mechanisms for large variation of copy number of R-genes in different plant species were discussed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-335
PMCID: PMC3679737  PMID: 23682795
R-genes; Cucurbitaceae; Copy number; Evolution; Sequence exchange
17.  A SSR-based composite genetic linkage map for the cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) genome 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:17.
Background
The construction of genetic linkage maps for cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) has and continues to be an important research goal to facilitate quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis and gene tagging for use in a marker-assisted selection in breeding. Even though a few maps have been developed, they were constructed using diploid or interspecific tetraploid populations. The most recently published intra-specific map was constructed from the cross of cultivated peanuts, in which only 135 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were sparsely populated in 22 linkage groups. The more detailed linkage map with sufficient markers is necessary to be feasible for QTL identification and marker-assisted selection. The objective of this study was to construct a genetic linkage map of cultivated peanut using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers derived primarily from peanut genomic sequences, expressed sequence tags (ESTs), and by "data mining" sequences released in GenBank.
Results
Three recombinant inbred lines (RILs) populations were constructed from three crosses with one common female parental line Yueyou 13, a high yielding Spanish market type. The four parents were screened with 1044 primer pairs designed to amplify SSRs and 901 primer pairs produced clear PCR products. Of the 901 primer pairs, 146, 124 and 64 primer pairs (markers) were polymorphic in these populations, respectively, and used in genotyping these RIL populations. Individual linkage maps were constructed from each of the three populations and a composite map based on 93 common loci were created using JoinMap. The composite linkage maps consist of 22 composite linkage groups (LG) with 175 SSR markers (including 47 SSRs on the published AA genome maps), representing the 20 chromosomes of A. hypogaea. The total composite map length is 885.4 cM, with an average marker density of 5.8 cM. Segregation distortion in the 3 populations was 23.0%, 13.5% and 7.8% of the markers, respectively. These distorted loci tended to cluster on LG1, LG3, LG4 and LG5. There were only 15 EST-SSR markers mapped due to low polymorphism. By comparison, there were potential synteny, collinear order of some markers and conservation of collinear linkage groups among the maps and with the AA genome but not fully conservative.
Conclusion
A composite linkage map was constructed from three individual mapping populations with 175 SSR markers in 22 composite linkage groups. This composite genetic linkage map is among the first "true" tetraploid peanut maps produced. This map also consists of 47 SSRs that have been used in the published AA genome maps, and could be used in comparative mapping studies. The primers described in this study are PCR-based markers, which are easy to share for genetic mapping in peanuts. All 1044 primer pairs are provided as additional files and the three RIL populations will be made available to public upon request for quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis and linkage map improvement.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-17
PMCID: PMC2835713  PMID: 20105299
18.  An annotated genetic map of loblolly pine based on microsatellite and cDNA markers 
BMC Genetics  2011;12:17.
Background
Previous loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) genetic linkage maps have been based on a variety of DNA polymorphisms, such as AFLPs, RAPDs, RFLPs, and ESTPs, but only a few SSRs (simple sequence repeats), also known as simple tandem repeats or microsatellites, have been mapped in P. taeda. The objective of this study was to integrate a large set of SSR markers from a variety of sources and published cDNA markers into a composite P. taeda genetic map constructed from two reference mapping pedigrees. A dense genetic map that incorporates SSR loci will benefit complete pine genome sequencing, pine population genetics studies, and pine breeding programs. Careful marker annotation using a variety of references further enhances the utility of the integrated SSR map.
Results
The updated P. taeda genetic map, with an estimated genome coverage of 1,515 cM(Kosambi) across 12 linkage groups, incorporated 170 new SSR markers and 290 previously reported SSR, RFLP, and ESTP markers. The average marker interval was 3.1 cM. Of 233 mapped SSR loci, 84 were from cDNA-derived sequences (EST-SSRs) and 149 were from non-transcribed genomic sequences (genomic-SSRs). Of all 311 mapped cDNA-derived markers, 77% were associated with NCBI Pta UniGene clusters, 67% with RefSeq proteins, and 62% with functional Gene Ontology (GO) terms. Duplicate (i.e., redundant accessory) and paralogous markers were tentatively identified by evaluating marker sequences by their UniGene cluster IDs, clone IDs, and relative map positions. The average gene diversity, He, among polymorphic SSR loci, including those that were not mapped, was 0.43 for 94 EST-SSRs and 0.72 for 83 genomic-SSRs. The genetic map can be viewed and queried at http://www.conifergdb.org/pinemap.
Conclusions
Many polymorphic and genetically mapped SSR markers are now available for use in P. taeda population genetics, studies of adaptive traits, and various germplasm management applications. Annotating mapped genes with UniGene clusters and GO terms allowed assessment of redundant and paralogous EST markers and further improved the quality and utility of the genetic map for P. taeda.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-17
PMCID: PMC3038140  PMID: 21269494
19.  A 1,681-locus consensus genetic map of cultivated cucumber including 67 NB-LRR resistance gene homolog and ten gene loci 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:53.
Background
Cucumber is an important vegetable crop that is susceptible to many pathogens, but no disease resistance (R) genes have been cloned. The availability of whole genome sequences provides an excellent opportunity for systematic identification and characterization of the nucleotide binding and leucine-rich repeat (NB-LRR) type R gene homolog (RGH) sequences in the genome. Cucumber has a very narrow genetic base making it difficult to construct high-density genetic maps. Development of a consensus map by synthesizing information from multiple segregating populations is a method of choice to increase marker density. As such, the objectives of the present study were to identify and characterize NB-LRR type RGHs, and to develop a high-density, integrated cucumber genetic-physical map anchored with RGH loci.
Results
From the Gy14 draft genome, 70 NB-containing RGHs were identified and characterized. Most RGHs were in clusters with uneven distribution across seven chromosomes. In silico analysis indicated that all 70 RGHs had EST support for gene expression. Phylogenetic analysis classified 58 RGHs into two clades: CNL and TNL. Comparative analysis revealed high-degree sequence homology and synteny in chromosomal locations of these RGH members between the cucumber and melon genomes.
Fifty-four molecular markers were developed to delimit 67 of the 70 RGHs, which were integrated into a genetic map through linkage analysis. A 1,681-locus cucumber consensus map including 10 gene loci and spanning 730.0 cM in seven linkage groups was developed by integrating three component maps with a bin-mapping strategy. Physically, 308 scaffolds with 193.2 Mbp total DNA sequences were anchored onto this consensus map that covered 52.6% of the 367 Mbp cucumber genome.
Conclusions
Cucumber contains relatively few NB-LRR RGHs that are clustered and unevenly distributed in the genome. All RGHs seem to be transcribed and shared significant sequence homology and synteny with the melon genome suggesting conservation of these RGHs in the Cucumis lineage. The 1,681-locus consensus genetic-physical map developed and the RGHs identified and characterized herein are valuable genomics resources that may have many applications such as quantitative trait loci identification, map-based gene cloning, association mapping, marker-assisted selection, as well as assembly of a more complete cucumber genome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-53
PMCID: PMC3626583  PMID: 23531125
Cucumber; Cucumis sativus; NB-LRR; Resistance gene homolog; Genetic mapping; Comparative mapping; Map integration
20.  Characterization of the small RNA component of leaves and fruits from four different cucurbit species 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:329.
Background
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding small RNAs involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression critical for plant growth and development, stress responses and other diverse biological processes in plants. The Cucurbitaceae or cucurbit family represents some of economically important species, particularly those with edible and medicinal fruits. Genomic tools for the molecular analysis of members of this family are just emerging. Partial draft genome sequence became available recently for cucumber and watermelon facilitating investigation of the small RNA component of the transcriptomes in cucurbits.
Results
We generated four small RNA libraries from bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria), Cucurbita moschata, Cucurbita pepo, and, watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus) in order to identify conserved and novel lineage specific miRNAs in these cucurbits. Deep sequencing of small RNA libraries from these species resulted in 1,597,263, 532,948, 601,388, and 493,384 unique sRNA reads from bottle gourd, moschata, pepo and watermelon, respectively. Sequence analysis of these four libraries resulted in identification of 21 miRNA families that are highly conserved and 8 miRNA families that are moderately conserved in diverse dicots. We also identified 4 putative novel miRNAs in these plant species. Furthermore, the tasiRNAs were identified and their biogenesis was determined in these cucurbits. Small RNA blot analysis or q-PCR analyses of leaf and fruit tissues of these cucurbits showed differential expression of several conserved miRNAs. Interestingly, the abundance of several miRNAs in leaves and fruits of closely related C. moschata and C. pepo was also distinctly different. Target genes for the most conserved miRNAs are also predicted.
Conclusion
High-throughput sequencing of small RNA libraries from four cucurbit species has provided a glimpse of small RNA component in their transcriptomes. The analysis also showed considerable variation within four cucurbit species with regards to expression of individual miRNAs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-329
PMCID: PMC3431224  PMID: 22823569
21.  A fast and cost-effective approach to develop and map EST-SSR markers: oak as a case study 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:570.
Background
Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) are a source of simple sequence repeats (SSRs) that can be used to develop molecular markers for genetic studies. The availability of ESTs for Quercus robur and Quercus petraea provided a unique opportunity to develop microsatellite markers to accelerate research aimed at studying adaptation of these long-lived species to their environment. As a first step toward the construction of a SSR-based linkage map of oak for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, we describe the mining and survey of EST-SSRs as well as a fast and cost-effective approach (bin mapping) to assign these markers to an approximate map position. We also compared the level of polymorphism between genomic and EST-derived SSRs and address the transferability of EST-SSRs in Castanea sativa (chestnut).
Results
A catalogue of 103,000 Sanger ESTs was assembled into 28,024 unigenes from which 18.6% presented one or more SSR motifs. More than 42% of these SSRs corresponded to trinucleotides. Primer pairs were designed for 748 putative unigenes. Overall 37.7% (283) were found to amplify a single polymorphic locus in a reference full-sib pedigree of Quercus robur. The usefulness of these loci for establishing a genetic map was assessed using a bin mapping approach. Bin maps were constructed for the male and female parental tree for which framework linkage maps based on AFLP markers were available. The bin set consisting of 14 highly informative offspring selected based on the number and position of crossover sites. The female and male maps comprised 44 and 37 bins, with an average bin length of 16.5 cM and 20.99 cM, respectively. A total of 256 EST-SSRs were assigned to bins and their map position was further validated by linkage mapping. EST-SSRs were found to be less polymorphic than genomic SSRs, but their transferability rate to chestnut, a phylogenetically related species to oak, was higher.
Conclusion
We have generated a bin map for oak comprising 256 EST-SSRs. This resource constitutes a first step toward the establishment of a gene-based map for this genus that will facilitate the dissection of QTLs affecting complex traits of ecological importance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-570
PMCID: PMC3091719  PMID: 20950475
22.  Using Microsatellites to Understand the Physical Distribution of Recombination on Soybean Chromosomes 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22306.
Soybean is a major crop that is an important source of oil and proteins. A number of genetic linkage maps have been developed in soybean. Specifically, hundreds of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers have been developed and mapped. Recent sequencing of the soybean genome resulted in the generation of vast amounts of genetic information. The objectives of this investigation were to use SSR markers in developing a connection between genetic and physical maps and to determine the physical distribution of recombination on soybean chromosomes. A total of 2,188 SSRs were used for sequence-based physical localization on soybean chromosomes. Linkage information was used from different maps to create an integrated genetic map. Comparison of the integrated genetic linkage maps and sequence based physical maps revealed that the distal 25% of each chromosome was the most marker-dense, containing an average of 47.4% of the SSR markers and 50.2% of the genes. The proximal 25% of each chromosome contained only 7.4% of the markers and 6.7% of the genes. At the whole genome level, the marker density and gene density showed a high correlation (R2) of 0.64 and 0.83, respectively with the physical distance from the centromere. Recombination followed a similar pattern with comparisons indicating that recombination is high in telomeric regions, though the correlation between crossover frequency and distance from the centromeres is low (R2 = 0.21). Most of the centromeric regions were low in recombination. The crossover frequency for the entire soybean genome was 7.2%, with extremes much higher and lower than average. The number of recombination hotspots varied from 1 to 12 per chromosome. A high correlation of 0.83 between the distribution of SSR markers and genes suggested close association of SSRs with genes. The knowledge of distribution of recombination on chromosomes may be applied in characterizing and targeting genes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022306
PMCID: PMC3140510  PMID: 21799819
23.  Construction of an Integrated High Density Simple Sequence Repeat Linkage Map in Cultivated Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) and its Applicability 
The cultivated strawberry (Fragaria× ananassa) is an octoploid (2n = 8x = 56) of the Rosaceae family whose genomic architecture is still controversial. Several recent studies support the AAA′A′BBB′B′ model, but its complexity has hindered genetic and genomic analysis of this important crop. To overcome this difficulty and to assist genome-wide analysis of F. × ananassa, we constructed an integrated linkage map by organizing a total of 4474 of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers collected from published Fragaria sequences, including 3746 SSR markers [Fragaria vesca expressed sequence tag (EST)-derived SSR markers] derived from F. vesca ESTs, 603 markers (F. × ananassa EST-derived SSR markers) from F. × ananassa ESTs, and 125 markers (F. × ananassa transcriptome-derived SSR markers) from F. × ananassa transcripts. Along with the previously published SSR markers, these markers were mapped onto five parent-specific linkage maps derived from three mapping populations, which were then assembled into an integrated linkage map. The constructed map consists of 1856 loci in 28 linkage groups (LGs) that total 2364.1 cM in length. Macrosynteny at the chromosome level was observed between the LGs of F. × ananassa and the genome of F. vesca. Variety distinction on 129 F. × ananassa lines was demonstrated using 45 selected SSR markers.
doi:10.1093/dnares/dss035
PMCID: PMC3576660  PMID: 23248204
Fragaria × ananassa; SSR marker; integrated linkage map; comparative mapping
24.  High-Resolution Linkage and Quantitative Trait Locus Mapping Aided by Genome Survey Sequencing: Building Up An Integrative Genomic Framework for a Bivalve Mollusc 
Genetic linkage maps are indispensable tools in genetic and genomic studies. Recent development of genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) methods holds great promise for constructing high-resolution linkage maps in organisms lacking extensive genomic resources. In the present study, linkage mapping was conducted for a bivalve mollusc (Chlamys farreri) using a newly developed GBS method—2b-restriction site-associated DNA (2b-RAD). Genome survey sequencing was performed to generate a preliminary reference genome that was utilized to facilitate linkage and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in C. farreri. A high-resolution linkage map was constructed with a marker density (3806) that has, to our knowledge, never been achieved in any other molluscs. The linkage map covered nearly the whole genome (99.5%) with a resolution of 0.41 cM. QTL mapping and association analysis congruously revealed two growth-related QTLs and one potential sex-determination region. An important candidate QTL gene named PROP1, which functions in the regulation of growth hormone production in vertebrates, was identified from the growth-related QTL region detected on the linkage group LG3. We demonstrate that this linkage map can serve as an important platform for improving genome assembly and unifying multiple genomic resources. Our study, therefore, exemplifies how to build up an integrative genomic framework in a non-model organism.
doi:10.1093/dnares/dst043
PMCID: PMC3925396  PMID: 24107803
bivalve; genome sequencing; 2b-RAD genotyping; linkage mapping; quantitative trait locus mapping
25.  Construction of an integrated genetic linkage map for the A genome of Brassica napus using SSR markers derived from sequenced BACs in B. rapa 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:594.
Background
The Multinational Brassica rapa Genome Sequencing Project (BrGSP) has developed valuable genomic resources, including BAC libraries, BAC-end sequences, genetic and physical maps, and seed BAC sequences for Brassica rapa. An integrated linkage map between the amphidiploid B. napus and diploid B. rapa will facilitate the rapid transfer of these valuable resources from B. rapa to B. napus (Oilseed rape, Canola).
Results
In this study, we identified over 23,000 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) from 536 sequenced BACs. 890 SSR markers (designated as BrGMS) were developed and used for the construction of an integrated linkage map for the A genome in B. rapa and B. napus. Two hundred and nineteen BrGMS markers were integrated to an existing B. napus linkage map (BnaNZDH). Among these mapped BrGMS markers, 168 were only distributed on the A genome linkage groups (LGs), 18 distrubuted both on the A and C genome LGs, and 33 only distributed on the C genome LGs. Most of the A genome LGs in B. napus were collinear with the homoeologous LGs in B. rapa, although minor inversions or rearrangements occurred on A2 and A9. The mapping of these BAC-specific SSR markers enabled assignment of 161 sequenced B. rapa BACs, as well as the associated BAC contigs to the A genome LGs of B. napus.
Conclusion
The genetic mapping of SSR markers derived from sequenced BACs in B. rapa enabled direct links to be established between the B. napus linkage map and a B. rapa physical map, and thus the assignment of B. rapa BACs and the associated BAC contigs to the B. napus linkage map. This integrated genetic linkage map will facilitate exploitation of the B. rapa annotated genomic resources for gene tagging and map-based cloning in B. napus, and for comparative analysis of the A genome within Brassica species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-594
PMCID: PMC3091739  PMID: 20969760

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