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1.  Transferability and polymorphism of barley EST-SSR markers used for phylogenetic analysis in Hordeum chilense 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:97.
Hordeum chilense, a native South American diploid wild barley, is a potential source of useful genes for cereal breeding. The use of this wild species to increase genetic variation in cereals will be greatly facilitated by marker-assisted selection. Different economically feasible approaches have been undertaken for this wild species with limited direct agricultural use in a search for suitable and cost-effective markers. The availability of Expressed Sequence Tags (EST) derived microsatellites or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, commonly called as EST-SSRs, for barley (Hordeum vulgare) represents a promising source to increase the number of genetic markers available for the H. chilense genome.
All of the 82 barley EST-derived SSR primer pairs tested for transferability to H. chilense amplified products of correct size from this species. Of these 82 barley EST-SSRs, 21 (26%) showed polymorphism among H. chilense lines. Identified polymorphic markers were used to test the transferability and polymorphism in other Poaceae family species with the aim of establishing H. chilense phylogenetic relationships. Triticum aestivum-H. chilense addition lines allowed us to determine the chromosomal localizations of EST-SSR markers and confirm conservation of the linkage group.
From the present study a set of 21 polymorphic EST-SSR markers have been identified to be useful for diversity analysis of H. chilense, related wild barleys like H. murinum, and for wheat marker-assisted introgression breeding. Across-genera transferability of the barley EST-SSR markers has allowed phylogenetic inference within the Triticeae complex.
PMCID: PMC2569940  PMID: 18822176
2.  High-throughput genotyping of wheat-barley amphiploids utilising diversity array technology (DArT) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:87.
Hordeum chilense, a native South American diploid wild barley, is one of the species of the genus Hordeum with a high potential for cereal breeding purposes, given its high crossability with other members of the Triticeae tribe. Hexaploid tritordeum (×Tritordeum Ascherson et Graebner, 2n=6×=42, AABBHchHch) is the fertile amphiploid obtained after chromosome doubling of hybrids between Hordeum chilense and durum wheat. Approaches used in the improvement of this crop have included crosses with hexaploid wheat to promote D/Hch chromosome substitutions. While this approach has been successful as was the case with triticale, it has also complicated the genetic composition of the breeding materials. Until now tritordeum lines were analyzed based on molecular cytogenetic techniques and screening with a small set of DNA markers. However, the recent development of DArT markers in H. chilense offers new possibilities to screen large number of accessions more efficiently.
Here, we have applied DArT markers to genotype composition in forty-six accessions of hexaploid tritordeum originating from different stages of tritordeum breeding program and to H. chilense-wheat chromosome addition lines to allow their physical mapping. Diversity analyses were conducted including dendrogram construction, principal component analysis and structure inference. Euploid and substituted tritordeums were clearly discriminated independently of the method used. However, dendrogram and Structure analyses allowed the clearest discrimination among substituted tritordeums. The physically mapped markers allowed identifying these groups as substituted tritordeums carrying the following disomic substitutions (DS): DS1D (1Hch), DS2D (2Hch), DS5D (5Hch), DS6D (6Hch) and the double substitution DS2D (2Hch), DS5D (5Hch). These results were validated using chromosome specific EST and SSR markers and GISH analysis.
In conclusion, DArT markers have proved to be very useful to detect chromosome substitutions in the tritordeum breeding program and thus they are expected to be equally useful to detect translocations both in the tritordeum breeding program and in the transference of H. chilense genetic material in wheat breeding programs.
PMCID: PMC3679790  PMID: 23725040
Tritordeum; DArT; Chromosome substitution; GISH; EST; SSR markers
3.  Nonrandom distribution and frequencies of genomic and EST-derived microsatellite markers in rice, wheat, and barley 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:23.
Earlier comparative maps between the genomes of rice (Oryza sativa L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were linkage maps based on cDNA-RFLP markers. The low number of polymorphic RFLP markers has limited the development of dense genetic maps in wheat and the number of available anchor points in comparative maps. Higher density comparative maps using PCR-based anchor markers are necessary to better estimate the conservation of colinearity among cereal genomes. The purposes of this study were to characterize the proportion of transcribed DNA sequences containing simple sequence repeats (SSR or microsatellites) by length and motif for wheat, barley and rice and to determine in-silico rice genome locations for primer sets developed for wheat and barley Expressed Sequence Tags.
The proportions of SSR types (di-, tri-, tetra-, and penta-nucleotide repeats) and motifs varied with the length of the SSRs within and among the three species, with trinucleotide SSRs being the most frequent. Distributions of genomic microsatellites (gSSRs), EST-derived microsatellites (EST-SSRs), and transcribed regions in the contiguous sequence of rice chromosome 1 were highly correlated. More than 13,000 primer pairs were developed for use by the cereal research community as potential markers in wheat, barley and rice.
Trinucleotide SSRs were the most common type in each of the species; however, the relative proportions of SSR types and motifs differed among rice, wheat, and barley. Genomic microsatellites were found to be primarily located in gene-rich regions of the rice genome. Microsatellite markers derived from the use of non-redundant EST-SSRs are an economic and efficient alternative to RFLP for comparative mapping in cereals.
PMCID: PMC550658  PMID: 15720707
4.  Allelic Variation, Alternative Splicing and Expression Analysis of Psy1 Gene in Hordeum chilense Roem. et Schult 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19885.
The wild barley Hordeum chilense Roem. et Schult. is a valuable source of genes for increasing carotenoid content in wheat. Tritordeums, the amphiploids derived from durum or common wheat and H. chilense, systematically show higher values of yellow pigment colour and carotenoid content than durum wheat. Phytoene synthase 1 gene (Psy1) is considered a key step limiting the carotenoid biosynthesis, and the correlation of Psy1 transcripts accumulation and endosperm carotenoid content has been demonstrated in the main grass species.
Methodology/Principal findings
We analyze the variability of Psy1 alleles in three lines of H. chilense (H1, H7 and H16) representing the three ecotypes described in this species. Moreover, we analyze Psy1 expression in leaves and in two seed developing stages of H1 and H7, showing mRNA accumulation patterns similar to those of wheat. Finally, we identify thirty-six different transcripts forms originated by alternative splicing of the 5′ UTR and/or exons 1 to 5 of Psy1 gene. Transcripts function is tested in a heterologous complementation assay, revealing that from the sixteen different predicted proteins only four types (those of 432, 370, 364 and 271 amino acids), are functional in the bacterial system.
The large number of transcripts originated by alternative splicing of Psy1, and the coexistence of functional and non functional forms, suggest a fine regulation of PSY activity in H. chilense. This work is the first analysis of H. chilense Psy1 gene and the results reported here are the bases for its potential use in carotenoid enhancement in durum wheat.
PMCID: PMC3095628  PMID: 21603624
5.  Hordeum chilense genome, a useful tool to investigate the endosperm yellow pigment content in the Triticeae 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:200.
The wild barley Hordeum chilense fulfills some requirements for being a useful tool to investigate the endosperm yellow pigment content (YPC) in the Triticeae including its diploid constitution, the availability of genetic resources (addition and deletion stocks and a high density genetic map) and, especially, its high seed YPC not silenced in tritordeums (amphiploids derived from H. chilense and wheat). Thus, the aim of this work was to test the utility of the H. chilense genome for investigating the YPC in the Triticeae.
Twelve genes related to endosperm carotenoid content and/or YPC in grasses (Dxr, Hdr [synonym ispH], Ggpps1, Psy2, Psy3, Pds, Zds, e-Lcy, b-Lcy, Hyd3, Ccd1 and Ppo1) were identified, and mapped in H. chilense using rice genes to identify orthologs from barley, wheat, sorghum and maize. Macrocolinearity studies revealed that gene positions were in agreement in H. vulgare and H. chilense. Additionally, three main regions associated with YPC were identified in chromosomes 2Hch, 3Hch and 7Hch in H. chilense, the former being the most significant one.
The results obtained are consistent with previous findings in wheat and suggest that Ggpps1, Zds and Hyd3 on chromosome 2Hch may be considered candidate genes in wheat for further studies in YPC improvement. Considering the syntenic location of carotenoid genes in H. chilense, we have concluded that the Hch genome may constitute a valuable tool for YPC studies in the Triticeae.
PMCID: PMC3534404  PMID: 23122232
Yellow pigment content (YPC); Macrocolinearity; Candidate genes; H. chilense; H. vulgare
6.  Gene-based microsatellites for cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz): prevalence, polymorphisms, and cross-taxa utility 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:118.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), a starchy root crop grown in tropical and subtropical climates, is the sixth most important crop in the world after wheat, rice, maize, potato and barley. The repertoire of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers for cassava is limited and warrants a need for a larger number of polymorphic SSRs for germplasm characterization and breeding applications.
A total of 846 putative microsatellites were identified in silico from an 8,577 cassava unigene set with an average density of one SSR every 7 kb. One hundred and ninety-two candidate SSRs were screened for polymorphism among a panel of cassava cultivars from Africa, Latin America and Asia, four wild Manihot species as well as two other important taxa in the Euphorbiaceae, leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and castor bean (Ricinus communis). Of 168 markers with clean amplification products, 124 (73.8%) displayed polymorphism based on high resolution agarose gels. Of 85 EST-SSR markers screened, 80 (94.1%) amplified alleles from one or more wild species (M epruinosa, M glaziovii, M brachyandra, M tripartita) whereas 13 (15.3%) amplified alleles from castor bean and 9 (10.6%) amplified alleles from leafy spurge; hence nearly all markers were transferable to wild relatives of M esculenta while only a fraction was transferable to the more distantly related taxa. In a subset of 20 EST-SSRs assessed by fluorescence-based genotyping the number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 10 with an average of 4.55 per locus. These markers had a polymorphism information content (PIC) from 0.19 to 0.75 with an average value of 0.55 and showed genetic relationships consistent with existing information on these genotypes.
A set of 124 new, unique polymorphic EST-SSRs was developed and characterized which extends the repertoire of SSR markers for cultivated cassava and its wild relatives. The markers show high PIC values and therefore will be useful for cultivar identification, taxonomic studies, and genetic mapping. The study further shows that mining ESTs is a highly efficient strategy for polymorphism detection within the cultivated cassava gene pool.
PMCID: PMC2758884  PMID: 19747391
7.  Isolation and Characterization of Microsatellite Markers for Passiflora contracta 
Passiflora contracta Vitta (Passifloraceae) is an endemic species of the Atlantic Rainforest, one of the most species-rich ecoregions in the world, although extremely endangered. We have developed an enriched microsatellite library in order to fine-scale studies of the genetic structure of P. contracta. Twelve pairs of microsatellite primers were designed, and seven loci were successfully amplified and characterized by genotyping two wild populations of P. contracta. All seven loci were polymorphic, with an average number of alleles found being 4.8 and 5 per population. The cross-species transferability was tested using sister species Passiflora ovalis Vell. Ex Roemer. The development of these markers will contribute to the studies of population genetics in P. contracta as well as future studies concerning diversity patterns in the Atlantic Rainforest, and may also help to establish strategies for the conservation of this species.
PMCID: PMC3472749  PMID: 23109857
nuclear microsatellites; Passiflora contracta; conservation genetics
8.  High level of conservation between genes coding for the GAMYB transcription factor in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) collections 
The transcription factor GAMYB is involved in gibberellin signalling in cereal aleurone cells and in plant developmental processes. Nucleotide diversity of HvGAMYB and TaGAMYB was investigated in 155 barley (Hordeum vulgare) and 42 wheat (Triticum aestivum) accessions, respectively. Polymorphisms defined 18 haplotypes in the barley collection and 1, 7 and 3 haplotypes for the A, B, and D genomes of wheat, respectively. We found that (1) Hv- and TaGAMYB genes have identical structures. (2) Both genes show a high level of nucleotide identity (>95%) in the coding sequences and the distribution of polymorphisms is similar in both collections. At the protein level the functional domain is identical in both species. (3) GAMYB genes map to a syntenic position on chromosome 3. GAMYB genes are different in both collections with respect to the Tajima D statistic and linkage disequilibrium (LD). A moderate level of LD was observed in the barley collection. In wheat, LD is absolute between polymorphic sites, mostly located in the first intron, while it decays within the gene. Differences in Tajima D values might be due to a lower selection pressure on HvGAMYB, compared to its wheat orthologue. Altogether our results provide evidence that there have been only few evolutionary changes in Hv- and TaGAMYB. This confirms the close relationship between these species and also highlights the functional importance of this transcription factor.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-008-0777-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2755743  PMID: 18488187
9.  A fast and cost-effective approach to develop and map EST-SSR markers: oak as a case study 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:570.
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).
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3091719  PMID: 20950475
10.  Genetic diversity and population structure in the tomato-like nightshades Solanum lycopersicoides and S. sitiens 
Annals of Botany  2010;105(4):535-554.
Background and Aims
Two closely related, wild tomato-like nightshade species, Solanum lycopersicoides and Solanum sitiens, inhabit a small area within the Atacama Desert region of Peru and Chile. Each species possesses unique traits, including abiotic and biotic stress tolerances, and can be hybridized with cultivated tomato. Conservation and utilization of these tomato relatives would benefit from an understanding of genetic diversity and relationships within and between populations.
Levels of genetic diversity and population genetic structure were investigated by genotyping representative accessions of each species with a set of simple sequence repeat (SSR) and allozyme markers.
Key Results
As expected for self-incompatible species, populations of S. lycopersicoides and S. sitiens were relatively diverse, but contained less diversity than the wild tomato Solanum chilense, a related allogamous species native to this region. Populations of S. lycopersicoides were slightly more diverse than populations of S. sitiens according to SSRs, but the opposite trend was found with allozymes. A higher coefficient of inbreeding was noted in S. sitiens. A pattern of isolation by distance was evident in both species, consistent with the highly fragmented nature of the populations in situ. The populations of each taxon showed strong geographical structure, with evidence for three major groups, corresponding to the northern, central and southern elements of their respective distributions.
This information should be useful for optimizing regeneration strategies, for sampling of the populations for genes of interest, and for guiding future in situ conservation efforts.
PMCID: PMC2850793  PMID: 20154348
Microsatellites; allozymes; biogeography; Solanum lycopersicoides; Solanum sitiens; Solanum chilense; genetic diversity; tomato; Solanum section Lycopersicoides
11.  Genetic Diversity and Ecological Niche Modelling of Wild Barley: Refugia, Large-Scale Post-LGM Range Expansion and Limited Mid-Future Climate Threats? 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e86021.
Describing genetic diversity in wild barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum) in geographic and environmental space in the context of current, past and potential future climates is important for conservation and for breeding the domesticated crop (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare). Spatial genetic diversity in wild barley was revealed by both nuclear- (2,505 SNP, 24 nSSR) and chloroplast-derived (5 cpSSR) markers in 256 widely-sampled geo-referenced accessions. Results were compared with MaxEnt-modelled geographic distributions under current, past (Last Glacial Maximum, LGM) and mid-term future (anthropogenic scenario A2, the 2080s) climates. Comparisons suggest large-scale post-LGM range expansion in Central Asia and relatively small, but statistically significant, reductions in range-wide genetic diversity under future climate. Our analyses support the utility of ecological niche modelling for locating genetic diversity hotspots and determine priority geographic areas for wild barley conservation under anthropogenic climate change. Similar research on other cereal crop progenitors could play an important role in tailoring conservation and crop improvement strategies to support future human food security.
PMCID: PMC3914776  PMID: 24505252
12.  Adaptation and diversity along an altitudinal gradient in Ethiopian barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) landraces revealed by molecular analysis 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:121.
Among the cereal crops, barley is the species with the greatest adaptability to a wide range of environments. To determine the level and structure of genetic diversity in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) landraces from the central highlands of Ethiopia, we have examined the molecular variation at seven nuclear microsatellite loci.
A total of 106 landrace populations were sampled in the two growing seasons (Meher and Belg; the long and short rainy seasons, respectively), across three districts (Ankober, Mojanawadera and Tarmaber), and within each district along an altitudinal gradient (from 1,798 to 3,324 m a.s.l). Overall, although significant, the divergence (e.g. FST) is very low between seasons and geographical districts, while it is high between different classes of altitude. Selection for adaptation to different altitudes appears to be the main factor that has determined the observed clinal variation, along with population-size effects.
Our data show that barley landraces from Ethiopia are constituted by highly variable local populations (farmer's fields) that have large within-population diversity. These landraces are also shown to be locally adapted, with the major driving force that has shaped their population structure being consistent with selection for adaptation along an altitudinal gradient. Overall, our study highlights the potential of such landraces as a source of useful alleles. Furthermore, these landraces also represent an ideal system to study the processes of adaptation and for the identification of genes and genomic regions that have adaptive roles in crop species.
PMCID: PMC3095281  PMID: 20565982
13.  Large-scale identification of polymorphic microsatellites using an in silico approach 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:374.
Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) or microsatellite markers are valuable for genetic research. Experimental methods to develop SSR markers are laborious, time consuming and expensive. In silico approaches have become a practicable and relatively inexpensive alternative during the last decade, although testing putative SSR markers still is time consuming and expensive. In many species only a relatively small percentage of SSR markers turn out to be polymorphic. This is particularly true for markers derived from expressed sequence tags (ESTs). In EST databases a large redundancy of sequences is present, which may contain information on length-polymorphisms in the SSR they contain, and whether they have been derived from heterozygotes or from different genotypes. Up to now, although a number of programs have been developed to identify SSRs in EST sequences, no software can detect putatively polymorphic SSRs.
We have developed PolySSR, a new pipeline to identify polymorphic SSRs rather than just SSRs. Sequence information is obtained from public EST databases derived from heterozygous individuals and/or at least two different genotypes. The pipeline includes PCR-primer design for the putatively polymorphic SSR markers, taking into account Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the flanking regions, thereby improving the success rate of the potential markers. A large number of polymorphic SSRs were identified using publicly available EST sequences of potato, tomato, rice, Arabidopsis, Brassica and chicken.
The SSRs obtained were divided into long and short based on the number of times the motif was repeated. Surprisingly, the frequency of polymorphic SSRs was much higher in the short SSRs.
PolySSR is a very effective tool to identify polymorphic SSRs. Using PolySSR, several hundred putative markers were developed and stored in a searchable database. Validation experiments showed that almost all markers that were indicated as putatively polymorphic by polySSR were indeed polymorphic. This greatly improves the efficiency of marker development, especially in species where there are low levels of polymorphism, like tomato. When combined with the new sequencing technologies PolySSR will have a big impact on the development of polymorphic SSRs in any species.
PolySSR and the polymorphic SSR marker database are available from .
PMCID: PMC2562394  PMID: 18793407
14.  Genetic differentiation and geographical Relationship of Asian barley landraces using SSRs 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2011;34(2):268-273.
Genetic diversity in 403 morphologically distinct landraces of barley (Hordeum vulgare L. subsp. vulgare) originating from seven geographical zones of Asia was studied using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers from regions of medium to high recombination in the barley genome. The seven polymorphic SSR markers representing each of the chromosomes chosen for the study revealed a high level of allelic diversity among the landraces. Genetic richness was highest in those from India, followed by Pakistan while it was lowest for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Out of the 50 alleles detected, 15 were unique to a geographic region. Genetic diversity was highest for landraces from Pakistan (0.70 ± 0.06) and lowest for those from Uzbekistan (0.18 ± 0.17). Likewise, polymorphic information content (PIC) was highest for Pakistan (0.67 ± 0.06) and lowest for Uzbekistan (0.15 ± 0.17). Diversity among groups was 40% compared to 60% within groups. Principal component analysis clustered the barley landraces into three groups to predict their domestication patterns. In total 51.58% of the variation was explained by the first two principal components of the barley germplasm. Pakistan landraces were clustered separately from those of India, Iran, Nepal and Iraq, whereas those from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were clustered together into a separate group.
PMCID: PMC3115321  PMID: 21734828
cluster analysis; genetic diversity; geographical differentiation; Hordeum vulgare; principal component analysis
15.  The characterization of a new set of EST-derived simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers as a resource for the genetic analysis of Phaseolus vulgaris 
BMC Genetics  2011;12:41.
Over recent years, a growing effort has been made to develop microsatellite markers for the genomic analysis of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) to broaden the knowledge of the molecular genetic basis of this species. The availability of large sets of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) in public databases has given rise to an expedient approach for the identification of SSRs (Simple Sequence Repeats), specifically EST-derived SSRs. In the present work, a battery of new microsatellite markers was obtained from a search of the Phaseolus vulgaris EST database. The diversity, degree of transferability and polymorphism of these markers were tested.
From 9,583 valid ESTs, 4,764 had microsatellite motifs, from which 377 were used to design primers, and 302 (80.11%) showed good amplification quality. To analyze transferability, a group of 167 SSRs were tested, and the results showed that they were 82% transferable across at least one species. The highest amplification rates were observed between the species from the Phaseolus (63.7%), Vigna (25.9%), Glycine (19.8%), Medicago (10.2%), Dipterix (6%) and Arachis (1.8%) genera. The average PIC (Polymorphism Information Content) varied from 0.53 for genomic SSRs to 0.47 for EST-SSRs, and the average number of alleles per locus was 4 and 3, respectively. Among the 315 newly tested SSRs in the BJ (BAT93 X Jalo EEP558) population, 24% (76) were polymorphic. The integration of these segregant loci into a framework map composed of 123 previously obtained SSR markers yielded a total of 199 segregant loci, of which 182 (91.5%) were mapped to 14 linkage groups, resulting in a map length of 1,157 cM.
A total of 302 newly developed EST-SSR markers, showing good amplification quality, are available for the genetic analysis of Phaseolus vulgaris. These markers showed satisfactory rates of transferability, especially between species that have great economic and genomic values. Their diversity was comparable to genomic SSRs, and they were incorporated in the common bean reference genetic map, which constitutes an important contribution to and advance in Phaseolus vulgaris genomic research.
PMCID: PMC3102039  PMID: 21554695
16.  Genetic Diversity and Population Structure: Implications for Conservation of Wild Soybean (Glycine soja Sieb. et Zucc) Based on Nuclear and Chloroplast Microsatellite Variation 
Wild soybean (Glycine soja Sieb. et Zucc) is the most important germplasm resource for soybean breeding, and is currently subject to habitat loss, fragmentation and population decline. In order to develop successful conservation strategies, a total of 604 wild soybean accessions from 43 locations sampled across its range in China, Japan and Korea were analyzed using 20 nuclear (nSSRs) and five chloroplast microsatellite markers (cpSSRs) to reveal its genetic diversity and population structure. Relatively high nSSR diversity was found in wild soybean compared with other self-pollinated species, and the region of middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River (MDRY) was revealed to have the highest genetic diversity. However, cpSSRs suggested that Korea is a center of diversity. High genetic differentiation and low gene flow among populations were detected, which is consistent with the predominant self-pollination of wild soybean. Two main clusters were revealed by MCMC structure reconstruction and phylogenetic dendrogram, one formed by a group of populations from northwestern China (NWC) and north China (NC), and the other including northeastern China (NEC), Japan, Korea, MDRY, south China (SC) and southwestern China (SWC). Contrib analyses showed that southwestern China makes the greatest contribution to the total diversity and allelic richness, and is worthy of being given conservation priority.
PMCID: PMC3497291  PMID: 23202917
Glycine soja; microsatellite; genetic diversity; genetic structure; bottleneck effect
17.  EST and EST-SSR marker resources for Iris 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:72.
Limited DNA sequence and DNA marker resources have been developed for Iris (Iridaceae), a monocot genus of 200–300 species in the Asparagales, several of which are horticulturally important. We mined an I. brevicaulis-I. fulva EST database for simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and developed ortholog-specific EST-SSR markers for genetic mapping and other genotyping applications in Iris. Here, we describe the abundance and other characteristics of SSRs identified in the transcript assembly (EST database) and the cross-species utility and polymorphisms of I. brevicaulis-I. fulva EST-SSR markers among wild collected ecotypes and horticulturally important cultivars.
Collectively, 6,530 ESTs were produced from normalized leaf and root cDNA libraries of I. brevicaulis (IB72) and I. fulva (IF174), and assembled into 4,917 unigenes (1,066 contigs and 3,851 singletons). We identified 1,447 SSRs in 1,162 unigenes and developed 526 EST-SSR markers, each tracing a different unigene. Three-fourths of the EST-SSR markers (399/526) amplified alleles from IB72 and IF174 and 84% (335/399) were polymorphic between IB25 and IF174, the parents of I. brevicaulis × I. fulva mapping populations. Forty EST-SSR markers were screened for polymorphisms among 39 ecotypes or cultivars of seven species – 100% amplified alleles from wild collected ecotypes of Louisiana Iris (I.brevicaulis, I.fulva, I. nelsonii, and I. hexagona), whereas 42–52% amplified alleles from cultivars of three horticulturally important species (I. pseudacorus, I. germanica, and I. sibirica). Ecotypes and cultivars were genetically diverse – the number of alleles/locus ranged from two to 18 and mean heterozygosity was 0.76.
Nearly 400 ortholog-specific EST-SSR markers were developed for comparative genetic mapping and other genotyping applications in Iris, were highly polymorphic among ecotypes and cultivars, and have broad utility for genotyping applications within the genus.
PMCID: PMC2703627  PMID: 19515254
18.  Comparative genomic analysis and expression of the APETALA2-like genes from barley, wheat, and barley-wheat amphiploids 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:66.
The APETALA2-like genes form a large multi-gene family of transcription factors which play an important role during the plant life cycle, being key regulators of many developmental processes. Many studies in Arabidopsis have revealed that the APETALA2 (AP2) gene is implicated in the establishment of floral meristem and floral organ identity as well as temporal and spatial regulation of flower homeotic gene expression.
In this work, we have cloned and characterised the AP2-like gene from accessions of Hordeum chilense and Hordeum vulgare, wild and domesticated barley, respectively, and compared with other AP2 homoeologous genes, including the Q gene in wheat. The Hordeum AP2-like genes contain two plant-specific DNA binding motifs called AP2 domains, as does the Q gene of wheat. We confirm that the H. chilense AP2-like gene is located on chromosome 5Hch. Patterns of expression of the AP2-like genes were examined in floral organs and other tissues in barley, wheat and in tritordeum amphiploids (barley × wheat hybrids). In tritordeum amphiploids, the level of transcription of the barley AP2-like gene was lower than in its barley parental and the chromosome substitutions 1D/1Hch and 2D/2Hch were seen to modify AP2 gene expression levels.
The results are of interest in order to understand the role of the AP2-like gene in the spike morphology of barley and wheat, and to understand the regulation of this gene in the amphiploids obtained from barley-wheat crossing. This information may have application in cereal breeding programs to up- or down-regulate the expression of AP2-like genes in order to modify spike characteristics and to obtain free-threshing plants.
PMCID: PMC2700811  PMID: 19480686
19.  Utility of sequenced genomes for microsatellite marker development in non-model organisms: a case study of functionally important genes in nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius) 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:334.
Identification of genes involved in adaptation and speciation by targeting specific genes of interest has become a plausible strategy also for non-model organisms. We investigated the potential utility of available sequenced fish genomes to develop microsatellite (cf. simple sequence repeat, SSR) markers for functionally important genes in nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius), as well as cross-species transferability of SSR primers from three-spined (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to nine-spined sticklebacks. In addition, we examined the patterns and degree of SSR conservation between these species using their aligned sequences.
Cross-species amplification success was lower for SSR markers located in or around functionally important genes (27 out of 158) than for those randomly derived from genomic (35 out of 101) and cDNA (35 out of 87) libraries. Polymorphism was observed at a large proportion (65%) of the cross-amplified loci independently of SSR type. To develop SSR markers for functionally important genes in nine-spined sticklebacks, SSR locations were surveyed in or around 67 target genes based on the three-spined stickleback genome and these regions were sequenced with primers designed from conserved sequences in sequenced fish genomes. Out of the 81 SSRs identified in the sequenced regions (44,084 bp), 57 exhibited the same motifs at the same locations as in the three-spined stickleback. Di- and trinucleotide SSRs appeared to be highly conserved whereas mononucleotide SSRs were less so. Species-specific primers were designed to amplify 58 SSRs using the sequences of nine-spined sticklebacks.
Our results demonstrated that a large proportion of SSRs are conserved in the species that have diverged more than 10 million years ago. Therefore, the three-spined stickleback genome can be used to predict SSR locations in the nine-spined stickleback genome. While cross-species utility of SSR primers is limited due to low amplification success, SSR markers can be developed for target genes and genomic regions using our approach, which should be also applicable to other non-model organisms. The SSR markers developed in this study should be useful for identification of genes responsible for phenotypic variation and adaptive divergence of nine-spined stickleback populations, as well as for constructing comparative gene maps of nine-spined and three-spined sticklebacks.
PMCID: PMC2891615  PMID: 20507571
20.  Diversification and Population Structure in Common Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49488.
Wild accessions of crops and landraces are valuable genetic resources for plant breeding and for conserving alleles and gene combinations in planta. The primary genepool of cultivated common beans includes wild accessions of Phaseolus vulgaris. These are of the same species as the domesticates and therefore are easily crossable with cultivated accessions. Molecular marker assessment of wild beans and landraces is important for the proper utilization and conservation of these important genetic resources. The goal of this research was to evaluate a collection of wild beans with fluorescent microsatellite or simple sequence repeat markers and to determine the population structure in combination with cultivated beans of all known races. Marker diversity in terms of average number of alleles per marker was high (13) for the combination of 36 markers and 104 wild genotypes that was similar to the average of 14 alleles per marker found for the 606 cultivated genotypes. Diversity in wild beans appears to be somewhat higher than in cultivated beans on a per genotype basis. Five populations or genepools were identified in structure analysis of the wild beans corresponding to segments of the geographical range, including Mesoamerican (Mexican), Guatemalan, Colombian, Ecuadorian-northern Peruvian and Andean (Argentina, Bolivia and Southern Peru). The combined analysis of wild and cultivated accessions showed that the first and last of these genepools were related to the cultivated genepools of the same names and the penultimate was found to be distinct but not ancestral to the others. The Guatemalan genepool was very novel and perhaps related to cultivars of race Guatemala, while the Colombian population was also distinct. Results suggest geographic isolation, founder effects or natural selection could have created the different semi-discrete populations of wild beans and that multiple domestications and introgression were involved in creating the diversity of cultivated beans.
PMCID: PMC3492280  PMID: 23145179
21.  Occurrence of metaxenia and false hybrids in Brassica juncea L. cv. Kikarashina × B. napus 
Breeding Science  2011;61(4):358-365.
Imported genetically modified (GM) canola (Brassica napus) is approved by Japanese law. Some GM canola varieties have been found around importation sites, and there is public concern that these may have any harmful effects on related species such as reduction of wild relatives. Because B. juncea is distributed throughout Japan and is known to be high crossability with B. napus, it is assumed to be a recipient of B. napus. However, there are few reports for introgression of cross-combination in B. juncea × B. napus. To assess crossability, we artificially pollinated B. juncea with B. napus. After harvesting a large number of progeny seeds, we observed false hybrids and metaxenia of seed coats. Seed coat color was classified into four categories and false hybrids were confirmed by morphological characteristics and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. Furthermore, the occurrence of false hybrids was affected by varietal differences in B. napus, whereas that of metaxenia was related to hybridity. Therefore, we suggest that metaxenia can be used as a marker for hybrid identification in B. juncea L. cv. Kikarashina × B. napus. Our results suggest that hybrid productivity in B. juncea × B. napus should not be evaluated by only seed productivity, crossability ought to be assessed the detection of true hybrids.
PMCID: PMC3406776  PMID: 23136472
Brassica juncea; B. napus; GM canola; gene flow; metaxenia; false hybrid
22.  Towards an efficient computational mining approach to identify EST-SSR markers 
Bioinformation  2012;8(4):201-202.
Microsatellites are the markers of choice due to their high abundance reproducibility, degree of polymorphism and co-dominant nature. These are mainly used for studying the genetic variability in different species and Marker assisted selection. Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) serve as the main resource for Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs). The computational approach for detecting SSRs and developing SSR markers from EST-SSRs is preferred over the conventional methods as it reduces time and cost to a great extent. The available EST sequence databases, various web interfaces and standalone tools provide the platform for an easy analysis of the EST sequences leading to the development of potential EST-SSR Markers. This paper is an overview of in silico approach to develop SSR Markers from the EST sequence using some of the most efficient tools that are available freely for academic purpose.
PMCID: PMC3302002  PMID: 22419841
Bioinformatics; EST-SSR; in silico approach; Microsatellites; SSR Markers
23.  Genetic structure and diversity of coffee (Coffea) across Africa and the Indian Ocean islands revealed using microsatellites 
Annals of Botany  2012;111(2):229-248.
Background and Aims
The coffee genus (Coffea) comprises 124 species, and is indigenous to the Old World Tropics. Due to its immense economic importance, Coffea has been the focus of numerous genetic diversity studies, but despite this effort it remains insufficiently studied. In this study the genetic diversity and genetic structure of Coffea across Africa and the Indian Ocean islands is investigated.
Genetic data were produced using 13 polymorphic nuclear microsatellite markers (simple sequence repeats, SSRs), including seven expressed sequence tag-SSRs, and the data were analysed using model- and non-model-based methods. The study includes a total of 728 individuals from 60 species.
Key Results
Across Africa and the Indian Ocean islands Coffea comprises a closely related group of species with an overall pattern of genotypes running from west to east. Genetic structure was identified in accordance with pre-determined geographical regions and phylogenetic groups. There is a good relationship between morpho-taxonomic species delimitations and genetic units. Genetic diversity in African and Indian Ocean Coffea is high in terms of number of alleles detected, and Madagascar appears to represent a place of significant diversification in terms of allelic richness and species diversity.
Cross-species SSR transferability in African and Indian Ocean islands Coffea was very efficient. On the basis of the number of private alleles, diversification in East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands appears to be more recent than in West and West-Central Africa, although this general trend is complicated in Africa by the position of species belonging to lineages connecting the main geographical regions. The general pattern of phylogeography is not in agreement with an overall east to west (Mascarene, Madagascar, East Africa, West Africa) increase in genome size, the high proportion of shared alleles between the four regions or the high numbers of exclusive shared alleles between pairs or triplets of regions.
PMCID: PMC3555535  PMID: 23275631
Africa; Coffea; coffee; crop wild relatives (CWRs); genetic diversity; genetic structure; Indian Ocean islands; Madagascar; Mascarenes; microsatellites; Rubiaceae; simple sequence repeats (SSRs)
24.  Genetic diversity of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and its wild relatives based on the analysis of hypervariable regions of the genome 
BMC Plant Biology  2004;4:11.
The genus Arachis is native to a region that includes Central Brazil and neighboring countries. Little is known about the genetic variability of the Brazilian cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea, genome AABB) germplasm collection at the DNA level. The understanding of the genetic diversity of cultivated and wild species of peanut (Arachis spp.) is essential to develop strategies of collection, conservation and use of the germplasm in variety development. The identity of the ancestor progenitor species of cultivated peanut has also been of great interest. Several species have been suggested as putative AA and BB genome donors to allotetraploid A. hypogaea. Microsatellite or SSR (Simple Sequence Repeat) markers are co-dominant, multiallelic, and highly polymorphic genetic markers, appropriate for genetic diversity studies. Microsatellite markers may also, to some extent, support phylogenetic inferences. Here we report the use of a set of microsatellite markers, including newly developed ones, for phylogenetic inferences and the analysis of genetic variation of accessions of A. hypogea and its wild relatives.
A total of 67 new microsatellite markers (mainly TTG motif) were developed for Arachis. Only three of these markers, however, were polymorphic in cultivated peanut. These three new markers plus five other markers characterized previously were evaluated for number of alleles per locus and gene diversity using 60 accessions of A. hypogaea. Genetic relationships among these 60 accessions and a sample of 36 wild accessions representative of section Arachis were estimated using allelic variation observed in a selected set of 12 SSR markers. Results showed that the Brazilian peanut germplasm collection has considerable levels of genetic diversity detected by SSR markers. Similarity groups for A. hypogaea accessions were established, which is a useful criteria for selecting parental plants for crop improvement. Microsatellite marker transferability was up to 76% for species of the section Arachis, but only 45% for species from the other eight Arachis sections tested. A new marker (Ah-041) presented a 100% transferability and could be used to classify the peanut accessions in AA and non-AA genome carriers.
The level of polymorphism observed among accessions of A. hypogaea analyzed with newly developed microsatellite markers was low, corroborating the accumulated data which show that cultivated peanut presents a relatively reduced variation at the DNA level. A selected panel of SSR markers allowed the classification of A. hypogaea accessions into two major groups. The identification of similarity groups will be useful for the selection of parental plants to be used in breeding programs. Marker transferability is relatively high between accessions of section Arachis. The possibility of using microsatellite markers developed for one species in genetic evaluation of other species greatly reduces the cost of the analysis, since the development of microsatellite markers is still expensive and time consuming. The SSR markers developed in this study could be very useful for genetic analysis of wild species of Arachis, including comparative genome mapping, population genetic structure and phylogenetic inferences among species.
PMCID: PMC491793  PMID: 15253775
25.  Integration of novel SSR and gene-based SNP marker loci in the chickpea genetic map and establishment of new anchor points with Medicago truncatula genome 
This study presents the development and mapping of simple sequence repeat (SSR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in chickpea. The mapping population is based on an inter-specific cross between domesticated and non-domesticated genotypes of chickpea (Cicer arietinum ICC 4958 × C. reticulatum PI 489777). This same population has been the focus of previous studies, permitting integration of new and legacy genetic markers into a single genetic map. We report a set of 311 novel SSR markers (designated ICCM—ICRISAT chickpea microsatellite), obtained from an SSR-enriched genomic library of ICC 4958. Screening of these SSR markers on a diverse panel of 48 chickpea accessions provided 147 polymorphic markers with 2–21 alleles and polymorphic information content value 0.04–0.92. Fifty-two of these markers were polymorphic between parental genotypes of the inter-specific population. We also analyzed 233 previously published (H-series) SSR markers that provided another set of 52 polymorphic markers. An additional 71 gene-based SNP markers were developed from transcript sequences that are highly conserved between chickpea and its near relative Medicago truncatula. By using these three approaches, 175 new marker loci along with 407 previously reported marker loci were integrated to yield an improved genetic map of chickpea. The integrated map contains 521 loci organized into eight linkage groups that span 2,602 cM, with an average inter-marker distance of 4.99 cM. Gene-based markers provide anchor points for comparing the genomes of Medicago and chickpea, and reveal extended synteny between these two species. The combined set of genetic markers and their integration into an improved genetic map should facilitate chickpea genetics and breeding, as well as translational studies between chickpea and Medicago.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-010-1265-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2854349  PMID: 20098978

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