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1.  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
2.  EST-derived SSR markers used as anchor loci for the construction of a consensus linkage map in ryegrass (Lolium spp.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:177.
Genetic markers and linkage mapping are basic prerequisites for marker-assisted selection and map-based cloning. In the case of the key grassland species Lolium spp., numerous mapping populations have been developed and characterised for various traits. Although some genetic linkage maps of these populations have been aligned with each other using publicly available DNA markers, the number of common markers among genetic maps is still low, limiting the ability to compare candidate gene and QTL locations across germplasm.
A set of 204 expressed sequence tag (EST)-derived simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers has been assigned to map positions using eight different ryegrass mapping populations. Marker properties of a subset of 64 EST-SSRs were assessed in six to eight individuals of each mapping population and revealed 83% of the markers to be polymorphic in at least one population and an average number of alleles of 4.88. EST-SSR markers polymorphic in multiple populations served as anchor markers and allowed the construction of the first comprehensive consensus map for ryegrass. The integrated map was complemented with 97 SSRs from previously published linkage maps and finally contained 284 EST-derived and genomic SSR markers. The total map length was 742 centiMorgan (cM), ranging for individual chromosomes from 70 cM of linkage group (LG) 6 to 171 cM of LG 2.
The consensus linkage map for ryegrass based on eight mapping populations and constructed using a large set of publicly available Lolium EST-SSRs mapped for the first time together with previously mapped SSR markers will allow for consolidating existing mapping and QTL information in ryegrass. Map and markers presented here will prove to be an asset in the development for both molecular breeding of ryegrass as well as comparative genetics and genomics within grass species.
PMCID: PMC3095307  PMID: 20712870
3.  Evidence for hybridization and introgression within a species-rich oak (Quercus spp.) community 
Analysis of interspecific gene flow is crucial for the understanding of speciation processes and maintenance of species integrity. Oaks (genus Quercus, Fagaceae) are among the model species for the study of hybridization. Natural co-occurrence of four closely related oak species is a very rare case in the temperate forests of Europe. We used both morphological characters and genetic markers to characterize hybridization in a natural community situated in west-central Romania and which consists of Quercus robur, Q. petraea, Q. pubescens, and Q. frainetto, respectively.
On the basis of pubescence and leaf morphological characters ~94% of the sampled individuals were assigned to pure species. Only 16 (~6%) individual trees exhibited intermediate morphologies or a combination of characters of different species. Four chloroplast DNA haplotypes were identified in the study area. The distribution of haplotypes within the white oak complex showed substantial differences among species. However, the most common haplotypes were present in all four species. Furthermore, based on a set of 7 isozyme and 6 microsatellite markers and using a Bayesian admixture analysis without any a priori information on morphology we found that four genetic clusters best fit the data. There was a very good correspondence of each species with one of the inferred genetic clusters. The estimated introgression level varied markedly between pairs of species ranging from 1.7% between Q. robur and Q. frainetto to 16.2% between Q. pubescens and Q. frainetto. Only nine individuals (3.4%) appeared to be first-generation hybrids.
Our data indicate that natural hybridization has occurred at relatively low rates. The different levels of gene flow among species might be explained by differences in flowering time and spatial position within the stand. In addition, a partial congruence between phenotypically and genetically intermediate individuals was found, suggesting that intermediate appearance does not necessarily mean hybridization. However, it appears that natural hybridization did not seriously affect the species identity in this area of sympatry.
PMCID: PMC2244923  PMID: 17996115
4.  Construction of a Genetic Linkage Map and Genetic Analysis of Domestication Related Traits in Mungbean (Vigna radiata) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e41304.
The genetic differences between mungbean and its presumed wild ancestor were analyzed for domestication related traits by QTL mapping. A genetic linkage map of mungbean was constructed using 430 SSR and EST-SSR markers from mungbean and its related species, and all these markers were mapped onto 11 linkage groups spanning a total of 727.6 cM. The present mungbean map is the first map where the number of linkage groups coincided with the haploid chromosome number of mungbean. In total 105 QTLs and genes for 38 domestication related traits were identified. Compared with the situation in other Vigna crops, many linkage groups have played an important role in the domestication of mungbean. In particular the QTLs with high contribution were distributed on seven out of 11 linkage groups. In addition, a large number of QTLs with small contribution were found. The accumulation of many mutations with large and/or small contribution has contributed to the differentiation between wild and cultivated mungbean. The useful QTLs for seed size, pod dehiscence and pod maturity that have not been found in other Asian Vigna species were identified in mungbean, and these QTLs may play the important role as new gene resources for other Asian Vigna species. The results provide the foundation that will be useful for improvement of mungbean and related legumes.
PMCID: PMC3410902  PMID: 22876284
5.  Construction of two genetic linkage maps in cultivated tetraploid alfalfa (Medicago sativa) using microsatellite and AFLP markers 
BMC Plant Biology  2003;3:9.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a major forage crop. The genetic progress is slow in this legume species because of its autotetraploidy and allogamy. The genetic structure of this species makes the construction of genetic maps difficult. To reach this objective, and to be able to detect QTLs in segregating populations, we used the available codominant microsatellite markers (SSRs), most of them identified in the model legume Medicago truncatula from EST database. A genetic map was constructed with AFLP and SSR markers using specific mapping procedures for autotetraploids. The tetrasomic inheritance was analysed in an alfalfa mapping population.
We have demonstrated that 80% of primer pairs defined on each side of SSR motifs in M. truncatula EST database amplify with the alfalfa DNA. Using a F1 mapping population of 168 individuals produced from the cross of 2 heterozygous parental plants from Magali and Mercedes cultivars, we obtained 599 AFLP markers and 107 SSR loci. All but 3 SSR loci showed a clear tetrasomic inheritance. For most of the SSR loci, the double-reduction was not significant. For the other loci no specific genotypes were produced, so the significant double-reduction could arise from segregation distortion. For each parent, the genetic map contained 8 groups of four homologous chromosomes. The lengths of the maps were 2649 and 3045 cM, with an average distance of 7.6 and 9.0 cM between markers, for Magali and Mercedes parents, respectively. Using only the SSR markers, we built a composite map covering 709 cM.
Compared to diploid alfalfa genetic maps, our maps cover about 88–100% of the genome and are close to saturation. The inheritance of the codominant markers (SSR) and the pattern of linkage repulsions between markers within each homology group are consistent with the hypothesis of a tetrasomic meiosis in alfalfa. Except for 2 out of 107 SSR markers, we found a similar order of markers on the chromosomes between the tetraploid alfalfa and M. truncatula genomes indicating a high level of colinearity between these two species. These maps will be a valuable tool for alfalfa breeding and are being used to locate QTLs.
PMCID: PMC324403  PMID: 14683527
6.  Bioinformatic analysis of ESTs collected by Sanger and pyrosequencing methods for a keystone forest tree species: oak 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:650.
The Fagaceae family comprises about 1,000 woody species worldwide. About half belong to the Quercus family. These oaks are often a source of raw material for biomass wood and fiber. Pedunculate and sessile oaks, are among the most important deciduous forest tree species in Europe. Despite their ecological and economical importance, very few genomic resources have yet been generated for these species. Here, we describe the development of an EST catalogue that will support ecosystem genomics studies, where geneticists, ecophysiologists, molecular biologists and ecologists join their efforts for understanding, monitoring and predicting functional genetic diversity.
We generated 145,827 sequence reads from 20 cDNA libraries using the Sanger method. Unexploitable chromatograms and quality checking lead us to eliminate 19,941 sequences. Finally a total of 125,925 ESTs were retained from 111,361 cDNA clones. Pyrosequencing was also conducted for 14 libraries, generating 1,948,579 reads, from which 370,566 sequences (19.0%) were eliminated, resulting in 1,578,192 sequences. Following clustering and assembly using TGICL pipeline, 1,704,117 EST sequences collapsed into 69,154 tentative contigs and 153,517 singletons, providing 222,671 non-redundant sequences (including alternative transcripts). We also assembled the sequences using MIRA and PartiGene software and compared the three unigene sets. Gene ontology annotation was then assigned to 29,303 unigene elements. Blast search against the SWISS-PROT database revealed putative homologs for 32,810 (14.7%) unigene elements, but more extensive search with Pfam, Refseq_protein, Refseq_RNA and eight gene indices revealed homology for 67.4% of them. The EST catalogue was examined for putative homologs of candidate genes involved in bud phenology, cuticle formation, phenylpropanoids biosynthesis and cell wall formation. Our results suggest a good coverage of genes involved in these traits. Comparative orthologous sequences (COS) with other plant gene models were identified and allow to unravel the oak paleo-history. Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were searched, resulting in 52,834 SSRs and 36,411 SNPs. All of these are available through the Oak Contig Browser
This genomic resource provides a unique tool to discover genes of interest, study the oak transcriptome, and develop new markers to investigate functional diversity in natural populations.
PMCID: PMC3017864  PMID: 21092232
7.  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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3031231  PMID: 21214949
8.  A White Campion (Silene latifolia) floral expressed sequence tag (EST) library: annotation, EST-SSR characterization, transferability, and utility for comparative mapping 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:243.
Expressed sequence tag (EST) databases represent a valuable resource for the identification of genes in organisms with uncharacterized genomes and for development of molecular markers. One class of markers derived from EST sequences are simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, also known as EST-SSRs. These are useful in plant genetic and evolutionary studies because they are located in transcribed genes and a putative function can often be inferred from homology searches. Another important feature of EST-SSR markers is their expected high level of transferability to related species that makes them very promising for comparative mapping. In the present study we constructed a normalized EST library from floral tissue of Silene latifolia with the aim to identify expressed genes and to develop polymorphic molecular markers.
We obtained a total of 3662 high quality sequences from a normalized Silene cDNA library. These represent 3105 unigenes, with 73% of unigenes matching genes in other species. We found 255 sequences containing one or more SSR motifs. More than 60% of these SSRs were trinucleotides. A total of 30 microsatellite loci were identified from 106 ESTs having sufficient flanking sequences for primer design. The inheritance of these loci was tested via segregation analyses and their usefulness for linkage mapping was assessed in an interspecific cross. Tests for crossamplification of the EST-SSR loci in other Silene species established their applicability to related species.
The newly characterized genes and gene-derived markers from our Silene EST library represent a valuable genetic resource for future studies on Silene latifolia and related species. The polymorphism and transferability of EST-SSR markers facilitate comparative linkage mapping and analyses of genetic diversity in the genus Silene.
PMCID: PMC2689282  PMID: 19467153
9.  Comparative Genetic Mapping and Discovery of Linkage Disequilibrium Across Linkage Groups in White Clover (Trifolium repens L.) 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2012;2(5):607-617.
White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is an allotetraploid species (2n = 4X = 32) that is widely distributed in temperate regions and cultivated as a forage legume. In this study, we developed expressed sequence tag (EST)–derived simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, constructed linkage maps, and performed comparative mapping with other legume species. A total of 7982 ESTs that could be assembled into 5400 contigs and 2582 singletons were generated. Using the EST sequences that were obtained, 1973 primer pairs to amplify EST-derived SSR markers were designed and used for linkage analysis of 188 F1 progenies, which were generated by a cross between two Japanese plants, ‘273-7’ and ‘T17-349,’ with previously published SSR markers. An integrated linkage map was constructed by combining parental-specific maps, which consisted of 1743 SSR loci on 16 homeologous linkage groups with a total length of 2511 cM. The primer sequences of the developed EST-SSR markers and their map positions are available on Linkage disequilibrium (LD) was observed on 9 of 16 linkage groups of a parental-specific map. The genome structures were compared among white clover, red clover (T. pratense L.), Medicago truncatula, and Lotus japonicus. Macrosynteny was observed across the four legume species. Surprisingly, the comparative genome structure between white clover and M. truncatula had a higher degree of conservation than that of the two clover species.
PMCID: PMC3362943  PMID: 22670230
comparative map; white clover; linkage disequilibrium; expressed sequence tag–simple sequence repeat
10.  QTL mapping reveals the genetic architecture of loci affecting pre- and post-zygotic isolating barriers in Louisiana Iris 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:91.
Hybridization among Louisiana Irises has been well established and the genetic architecture of reproductive isolation is known to affect the potential for and the directionality of introgression between taxa. Here we use co-dominant markers to identify regions where QTL are located both within and between backcross maps to compare the genetic architecture of reproductive isolation and fitness traits across treatments and years.
QTL mapping was used to elucidate the genetic architecture of reproductive isolation between Iris fulva and Iris brevicaulis. Homologous co-dominant EST-SSR markers scored in two backcross populations between I. fulva and I. brevicaulis were used to generate genetic linkage maps. These were used as the framework for mapping QTL associated with variation in 11 phenotypic traits likely responsible for reproductive isolation and fitness. QTL were dispersed throughout the genome, with the exception of one region of a single linkage group (LG) where QTL for flowering time, sterility, and fruit production clustered. In most cases, homologous QTL were not identified in both backcross populations, however, homologous QTL for flowering time, number of growth points per rhizome, number of nodes per inflorescence, and number of flowers per node were identified on several linkage groups.
Two different traits affecting reproductive isolation, flowering time and sterility, exhibit different genetic architectures, with numerous QTL across the Iris genome controlling flowering time and fewer, less distributed QTL affecting sterility. QTL for traits affecting fitness are largely distributed across the genome with occasional overlap, especially on LG 4, where several QTL increasing fitness and decreasing sterility cluster. Given the distribution and effect direction of QTL affecting reproductive isolation and fitness, we have predicted genomic regions where introgression may be more likely to occur (those regions associated with an increase in fitness and unlinked to loci controlling reproductive isolation) and those that are less likely to exhibit introgression (those regions linked to traits decreasing fitness and reproductive isolation).
PMCID: PMC3490880  PMID: 22702308
11.  High Rates of Gene Flow by Pollen and Seed in Oak Populations across Europe 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85130.
Gene flow is a key factor in the evolution of species, influencing effective population size, hybridisation and local adaptation. We analysed local gene flow in eight stands of white oak (mostly Quercus petraea and Q. robur, but also Q. pubescens and Q. faginea) distributed across Europe.
Adult trees within a given area in each stand were exhaustively sampled (range [239, 754], mean 423), mapped, and acorns were collected ([17,147], 51) from several mother trees ([3], [47], 23). Seedlings ([65,387], 178) were harvested and geo-referenced in six of the eight stands. Genetic information was obtained from screening distinct molecular markers spread across the genome, genotyping each tree, acorn or seedling. All samples were thus genotyped at 5–8 nuclear microsatellite loci. Fathers/parents were assigned to acorns and seedlings using likelihood methods. Mating success of male and female parents, pollen and seed dispersal curves, and also hybridisation rates were estimated in each stand and compared on a continental scale.
On average, the percentage of the wind-borne pollen from outside the stand was 60%, with large variation among stands (21–88%). Mean seed immigration into the stand was 40%, a high value for oaks that are generally considered to have limited seed dispersal. However, this estimate varied greatly among stands (20–66%). Gene flow was mostly intraspecific, with large variation, as some trees and stands showed particularly high rates of hybridisation.
Our results show that mating success was unevenly distributed among trees. The high levels of gene flow suggest that geographically remote oak stands are unlikely to be genetically isolated, questioning the static definition of gene reserves and seed stands.
PMCID: PMC3890301  PMID: 24454802
12.  Allele discovery of ten candidate drought-response genes in Austrian oak using a systematically informatics approach based on 454 amplicon sequencing 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:175.
Rise of temperatures and shortening of available water as result of predicted climate change will impose significant pressure on long-lived forest tree species. Discovering allelic variation present in drought related genes of two Austrian oak species can be the key to understand mechanisms of natural selection and provide forestry with key tools to cope with future challenges.
In the present study we have used Roche 454 sequencing and developed a bioinformatic pipeline to process multiplexed tagged amplicons in order to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms and allelic sequences of ten candidate genes related to drought/osmotic stress from sessile oak (Quercus robur) and sessile oak (Q. petraea) individuals. Out of these, eight genes of 336 oak individuals growing in Austria have been detected with a total number of 158 polymorphic sites. Allele numbers ranged from ten to 52 with observed heterozygosity ranging from 0.115 to 0.640. All loci deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and linkage disequilibrium was found among six combinations of loci.
We have characterized 183 alleles of drought related genes from oak species and detected first evidences of natural selection. Beside the potential for marker development, we have created an expandable bioinformatic pipeline for the analysis of next generation sequencing data.
PMCID: PMC3420255  PMID: 22472016
13.  Genome Mapping and Molecular Breeding of Tomato 
The cultivated tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum, is the second most consumed vegetable worldwide and a well-studied crop species in terms of genetics, genomics, and breeding. It is one of the earliest crop plants for which a genetic linkage map was constructed, and currently there are several molecular maps based on crosses between the cultivated and various wild species of tomato. The high-density molecular map, developed based on an L. esculentum × L. pennellii cross, includes more than 2200 markers with an average marker distance of less than 1 cM and an average of 750 kbp per cM. Different types of molecular markers such as RFLPs, AFLPs, SSRs, CAPS, RGAs, ESTs, and COSs have been developed and mapped onto the 12 tomato chromosomes. Markers have been used extensively for identification and mapping of genes and QTLs for many biologically and agriculturally important traits and occasionally for germplasm screening, fingerprinting, and marker-assisted breeding. The utility of MAS in tomato breeding has been restricted largely due to limited marker polymorphism within the cultivated species and economical reasons. Also, when used, MAS has been employed mainly for improving simply-inherited traits and not much for improving complex traits. The latter has been due to unavailability of reliable PCR-based markers and problems with linkage drag. Efforts are being made to develop high-throughput markers with greater resolution, including SNPs. The expanding tomato EST database, which currently includes ∼214 000 sequences, the new microarray DNA chips, and the ongoing sequencing project are expected to aid development of more practical markers. Several BAC libraries have been developed that facilitate map-based cloning of genes and QTLs. Sequencing of the euchromatic portions of the tomato genome is paving the way for comparative and functional analysis of important genes and QTLs.
PMCID: PMC2267253  PMID: 18364989
14.  Frequency, type, and distribution of EST-SSRs from three genotypes of Lolium perenne, and their conservation across orthologous sequences of Festuca arundinacea, Brachypodium distachyon, and Oryza sativa 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:36.
Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are highly informative and widely used for genetic and breeding studies in several plant species. They are used for cultivar identification, variety protection, as anchor markers in genetic mapping, and in marker-assisted breeding. Currently, a limited number of SSR markers are publicly available for perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). We report on the exploitation of a comprehensive EST collection in L. perenne for SSR identification. The objectives of this study were 1) to analyse the frequency, type, and distribution of SSR motifs in ESTs derived from three genotypes of L. perenne, 2) to perform a comparative analysis of SSR motif polymorphisms between allelic sequences, 3) to conduct a comparative analysis of SSR motif polymorphisms between orthologous sequences of L. perenne, Festuca arundinacea, Brachypodium distachyon, and O. sativa, 4) to identify functionally associated EST-SSR markers for application in comparative genomics and breeding.
From 25,744 ESTs, representing 8.53 megabases of nucleotide information from three genotypes of L. perenne, 1,458 ESTs (5.7%) contained one or more SSRs. Of these SSRs, 955 (3.7%) were non-redundant. Tri-nucleotide repeats were the most abundant type of repeats followed by di- and tetra-nucleotide repeats. The EST-SSRs from the three genotypes were analysed for allelic- and/or genotypic SSR motif polymorphisms. Most of the SSR motifs (97.7%) showed no polymorphisms, whereas 22 EST-SSRs showed allelic- and/or genotypic polymorphisms. All polymorphisms identified were changes in the number of repeat units. Comparative analysis of the L. perenne EST-SSRs with sequences of Festuca arundinacea, Brachypodium distachyon, and Oryza sativa identified 19 clusters of orthologous sequences between these four species. Analysis of the clusters showed that the SSR motif generally is conserved in the closely related species F. arundinacea, but often differs in length of the SSR motif. In contrast, SSR motifs are often lost in the more distant related species B. distachyon and O. sativa.
The results indicate that the L. perenne EST-SSR markers are a valuable resource for genetic mapping, as well as evaluation of co-location between QTLs and functionally associated markers.
PMCID: PMC1950305  PMID: 17626623
15.  QTL Mapping of Growth-Related Traits in a Full-Sib Family of Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis) Evaluated in a Sub-Tropical Climate 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61238.
The rubber tree (Hevea spp.), cultivated in equatorial and tropical countries, is the primary plant used in natural rubber production. Due to genetic and physiological constraints, inbred lines of this species are not available. Therefore, alternative approaches are required for the characterization of this species, such as the genetic mapping of full-sib crosses derived from outbred parents. In the present study, an integrated genetic map was obtained for a full-sib cross family with simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and expressed sequence tag (EST-SSR) markers, which can display different segregation patterns. To study the genetic architecture of the traits related to growth in two different conditions (winter and summer), quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping was also performed using the integrated map. Traits evaluated were height and girth growth, and the statistical model was based in an extension of composite interval mapping. The obtained molecular genetic map has 284 markers distributed among 23 linkage groups with a total length of 2688.8 cM. A total of 18 QTLs for growth traits during the summer and winter seasons were detected. A comparison between the different seasons was also conducted. For height, QTLs detected during the summer season were different from the ones detected during winter season. This type of difference was also observed for girth. Integrated maps are important for genetics studies in outbred species because they represent more accurately the polymorphisms observed in the genitors. QTL mapping revealed several interesting findings, such as a dominance effect and unique segregation patterns that each QTL could exhibit, which were independent of the flanking markers. The QTLs identified in this study, especially those related to phenotypic variation associated with winter could help studies of marker-assisted selection that are particularly important when the objective of a breeding program is to obtain phenotypes that are adapted to sub-optimal regions.
PMCID: PMC3631230  PMID: 23620732
16.  Functional markers for gene mapping and genetic diversity studies in sugarcane 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:264.
The database of sugarcane expressed sequence tags (EST) offers a great opportunity for developing molecular markers that are directly associated with important agronomic traits. The development of new EST-SSR markers represents an important tool for genetic analysis. In sugarcane breeding programs, functional markers can be used to accelerate the process and select important agronomic traits, especially in the mapping of quantitative traits loci (QTL) and plant resistant pathogens or qualitative resistance loci (QRL). The aim of this work was to develop new simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers in sugarcane using the sugarcane expressed sequence tag (SUCEST database).
A total of 365 EST-SSR molecular markers with trinucleotide motifs were developed and evaluated in a collection of 18 genotypes of sugarcane (15 varieties and 3 species). In total, 287 of the EST-SSRs markers amplified fragments of the expected size and were polymorphic in the analyzed sugarcane varieties. The number of alleles ranged from 2-18, with an average of 6 alleles per locus, while polymorphism information content values ranged from 0.21-0.92, with an average of 0.69. The discrimination power was high for the majority of the EST-SSRs, with an average value of 0.80. Among the markers characterized in this study some have particular interest, those that are related to bacterial defense responses, generation of precursor metabolites and energy and those involved in carbohydrate metabolic process.
These EST-SSR markers presented in this work can be efficiently used for genetic mapping studies of segregating sugarcane populations. The high Polymorphism Information Content (PIC) and Discriminant Power (DP) presented facilitate the QTL identification and marker-assisted selection due the association with functional regions of the genome became an important tool for the sugarcane breeding program.
PMCID: PMC3158763  PMID: 21798036
17.  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.
PMCID: PMC3576660  PMID: 23248204
Fragaria × ananassa; SSR marker; integrated linkage map; comparative mapping
18.  Exploring Species Limits in Two Closely Related Chinese Oaks 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e15529.
The species status of two closely related Chinese oaks, Quercus liaotungensis and Q. mongolica, has been called into question. The objective of this study was to investigate the species status and to estimate the degree of introgression between the two taxa using different approaches.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Using SSR (simple sequence repeat) and AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism) markers, we found that interspecific genetic differentiation is significant and higher than the differentiation among populations within taxa. Bayesian clusters, principal coordinate analysis and population genetic distance trees all classified the oaks into two main groups consistent with the morphological differentiation of the two taxa rather than with geographic locations using both types of markers. Nevertheless, a few individuals in Northeast China and many individuals in North China have hybrid ancestry according to Bayesian assignment. One SSR locus and five AFLPs are significant outliers against neutral expectations in the interspecific FST simulation analysis, suggesting a role for divergent selection in differentiating species.
Main Conclusions/Significance
All results based on SSRs and AFLPs reached the same conclusion: Q. liaotungensis and Q. mongolica maintain distinct gene pools in most areas of sympatry. They should therefore be considered as discrete taxonomic units. Yet, the degree of introgression varies between the two species in different contact zones, which might be caused by different population history or by local environmental factors.
PMCID: PMC2994836  PMID: 21152084
19.  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.
PMCID: PMC3193016  PMID: 21743103
Genetic map; genome duplication; Malus×domestica; physical map; segmental duplication; simple sequence repeat
20.  Utility of Multilocus Genotypes for Taxon Assignment in Stands of Closely Related European White Oaks from Switzerland 
Annals of Botany  2008;102(5):855-863.
Background and Aims
European white oaks (Quercus petraea, Q. pubescens, Q. robur) have long puzzled plant biologists owing to disputed species differentiation. Extensive hybridization or shared ancestry have been proposed as alternative hypotheses to explain why genetic differentiation between these oak species is low. Species delimitation is usually weak and often shows gradual transitions in leaf morphology. Hence, individual identification may be difficult, but remains a critical step for both scientific work and practical management.
Multilocus genotype data (five nuclear microsatellites) were used from ten Swiss oak stands for taxon identification without a priori grouping of individuals or populations, using model-based Bayesian assignment tests.
Key Results
Three groups best structured the data, indicating that the taxonomical signal was stronger than the spatial signal. Most individuals showed high posterior probabilities for either of three genetic groups that were best circumscribed as taxonomical units. The assignment of a subset of trees, whose taxonomic status had been previously characterized in detail, supported this classification scheme.
Molecular-genetic assignment tests are useful in the identification of species status in critical taxon complexes such as the European white oaks. Such an approach is of practical importance for forest management, e.g. for stand certification or in seed trade to trace the origin of forest products.
PMCID: PMC2712387  PMID: 18775969
Assignment test; Bayesian inference; multilocus genotype; nuclear microsatellites; Quercus sp.; species complex
21.  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.
PMCID: PMC3646037  PMID: 23671621
22.  Second-Generation Genetic Linkage Map of Catfish and Its Integration with the BAC-Based Physical Map 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2012;2(10):1233-1241.
Construction of high-density genetic linkage maps is crucially important for quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies, and they are more useful when integrated with physical maps. Such integrated maps are valuable genome resources for fine mapping of QTL, comparative genomics, and accurate and efficient whole-genome assembly. Previously, we established both linkage maps and a physical map for channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, the dominant aquaculture species in the United States. Here we added 2030 BAC end sequence (BES)-derived microsatellites from 1481 physical map contigs, as well as markers from singleton BES, ESTs, anonymous microsatellites, and SNPs, to construct a second-generation linkage map. Average marker density across the 29 linkage groups reached 1.4 cM/marker. The increased marker density highlighted variations in recombination rates within and among catfish chromosomes. This work effectively anchored 44.8% of the catfish BAC physical map contigs, covering ∼52.8% of the genome. The genome size was estimated to be 2546 cM on the linkage map, and the calculated physical distance per centimorgan was 393 Kb. This integrated map should enable comparative studies with teleost model species as well as provide a framework for ordering and assembling whole-genome scaffolds.
PMCID: PMC3464116  PMID: 23050234
catfish; linkage map; physical map; genome; map integration
23.  An annotated genetic map of loblolly pine based on microsatellite and cDNA markers 
BMC Genetics  2011;12:17.
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.
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
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.
PMCID: PMC3038140  PMID: 21269494
24.  Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] consensus linkage map constructed using four RIL mapping populations and newly developed EST-SSRs 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:159.
Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] is a widely cultivated drought- and high-temperature tolerant C4 cereal grown under dryland, rainfed and irrigated conditions in drought-prone regions of the tropics and sub-tropics of Africa, South Asia and the Americas. It is considered an orphan crop with relatively few genomic and genetic resources. This study was undertaken to increase the EST-based microsatellite marker and genetic resources for this crop to facilitate marker-assisted breeding.
Newly developed EST-SSR markers (99), along with previously mapped EST-SSR (17), genomic SSR (53) and STS (2) markers, were used to construct linkage maps of four F7 recombinant inbred populations (RIP) based on crosses ICMB 841-P3 × 863B-P2 (RIP A), H 77/833-2 × PRLT 2/89-33 (RIP B), 81B-P6 × ICMP 451-P8 (RIP C) and PT 732B-P2 × P1449-2-P1 (RIP D). Mapped loci numbers were greatest for RIP A (104), followed by RIP B (78), RIP C (64) and RIP D (59). Total map lengths (Haldane) were 615 cM, 690 cM, 428 cM and 276 cM, respectively. A total of 176 loci detected by 171 primer pairs were mapped among the four crosses. A consensus map of 174 loci (899 cM) detected by 169 primer pairs was constructed using MergeMap to integrate the individual linkage maps. Locus order in the consensus map was well conserved for nearly all linkage groups. Eighty-nine EST-SSR marker loci from this consensus map had significant BLAST hits (top hits with e-value ≤ 1E-10) on the genome sequences of rice, foxtail millet, sorghum, maize and Brachypodium with 35, 88, 58, 48 and 38 loci, respectively.
The consensus map developed in the present study contains the largest set of mapped SSRs reported to date for pearl millet, and represents a major consolidation of existing pearl millet genetic mapping information. This study increased numbers of mapped pearl millet SSR markers by >50%, filling important gaps in previously published SSR-based linkage maps for this species and will greatly facilitate SSR-based QTL mapping and applied marker-assisted selection programs.
PMCID: PMC3606598  PMID: 23497368
EST-SSR markers; EST; Linkage map; Consensus map; Drought stress; Pearl millet; Synteny
25.  Antioxidant Characterization of Oak Extracts Combining Spectrophotometric Assays and Chemometrics 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:134656.
Antioxidant characteristics of leaves, twigs, and acorns from two Serbian oak species Quercus robur L. and Quercus petraea L. from Vojvodina province (northern Serbia) were investigated. 80% ethanol (in water) extracts were used for antiradical power (ARP) determinations against DPPH•, •NO, and O2•− radicals, ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), total phenol, tannin, flavonoid, and proanthocyanidin contents. Permanganate reducing antioxidant capacity (PRAC) was determined using water extracts. Beside, mentioned parameters, soluble proteins, lipid peroxidation (LP), pigments and proline contents were also determined. The data of different procedures were compared and analyzed by multivariate techniques (correlation matrix calculation and principal component analysis (PCA)). PCA found that investigated organs of two different oak tree species possess similar antioxidant characteristics. The superior antioxidant characteristics showed oak leaves over twigs and acorns and seem to be promising source of antioxidants with possible use in industry and pharmacy.
PMCID: PMC3886299  PMID: 24453789

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