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1.  Development and characterization of BAC-end sequence derived SSRs, and their incorporation into a new higher density genetic map for cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:10.
Cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important crop worldwide, valued for its edible oil and digestible protein. It has a very narrow genetic base that may well derive from a relatively recent single polyploidization event. Accordingly molecular markers have low levels of polymorphism and the number of polymorphic molecular markers available for cultivated peanut is still limiting.
Here, we report a large set of BAC-end sequences (BES), use them for developing SSR (BES-SSR) markers, and apply them in genetic linkage mapping. The majority of BESs had no detectable homology to known genes (49.5%) followed by sequences with similarity to known genes (44.3%), and miscellaneous sequences (6.2%) such as transposable element, retroelement, and organelle sequences. A total of 1,424 SSRs were identified from 36,435 BESs. Among these identified SSRs, dinucleotide (47.4%) and trinucleotide (37.1%) SSRs were predominant. The new set of 1,152 SSRs as well as about 4,000 published or unpublished SSRs were screened against two parents of a mapping population, generating 385 polymorphic loci. A genetic linkage map was constructed, consisting of 318 loci onto 21 linkage groups and covering a total of 1,674.4 cM, with an average distance of 5.3 cM between adjacent loci. Two markers related to resistance gene homologs (RGH) were mapped to two different groups, thus anchoring 1 RGH-BAC contig and 1 singleton.
The SSRs mined from BESs will be of use in further molecular analysis of the peanut genome, providing a novel set of markers, genetically anchoring BAC clones, and incorporating gene sequences into a linkage map. This will aid in the identification of markers linked to genes of interest and map-based cloning.
PMCID: PMC3298471  PMID: 22260238
2.  Comparative analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) between drought-tolerant and -susceptible genotypes of chickpea under terminal drought stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:70.
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an important grain-legume crop that is mainly grown in rainfed areas, where terminal drought is a major constraint to its productivity. We generated expressed sequence tags (ESTs) by suppression subtraction hybridization (SSH) to identify differentially expressed genes in drought-tolerant and -susceptible genotypes in chickpea.
EST libraries were generated by SSH from root and shoot tissues of IC4958 (drought tolerant) and ICC 1882 (drought resistant) exposed to terminal drought conditions by the dry down method. SSH libraries were also constructed by using 2 sets of bulks prepared from the RNA of root tissues from selected recombinant inbred lines (RILs) (10 each) for the extreme high and low root biomass phenotype. A total of 3062 unigenes (638 contigs and 2424 singletons), 51.4% of which were novel in chickpea, were derived by cluster assembly and sequence alignment of 5949 ESTs. Only 2185 (71%) unigenes showed significant BLASTX similarity (<1E-06) in the NCBI non-redundant (nr) database. Gene ontology functional classification terms (BLASTX results and GO term), were retrieved for 2006 (92.0%) sequences, and 656 sequences were further annotated with 812 Enzyme Commission (EC) codes and were mapped to 108 different KEGG pathways. In addition, expression status of 830 unigenes in response to terminal drought stress was evaluated using macro-array (dot blots). The expression of few selected genes was validated by northern blotting and quantitative real-time PCR assay.
Our study compares not only genes that are up- and down-regulated in a drought-tolerant genotype under terminal drought stress and a drought susceptible genotype but also between the bulks of the selected RILs exhibiting extreme phenotypes. More than 50% of the genes identified have been shown to be associated with drought stress in chickpea for the first time. This study not only serves as resource for marker discovery, but can provide a better insight into the selection of candidate genes (both up- and downregulated) associated with drought tolerance. These results can be used to identify suitable targets for manipulating the drought-tolerance trait in chickpea.
PMCID: PMC3110109  PMID: 21513527
3.  Analysis of BAC-end sequences (BESs) and development of BES-SSR markers for genetic mapping and hybrid purity assessment in pigeonpea (Cajanus spp.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:56.
Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] is an important legume crop of rainfed agriculture. Despite of concerted research efforts directed to pigeonpea improvement, stagnated productivity of pigeonpea during last several decades may be accounted to prevalence of various biotic and abiotic constraints and the situation is exacerbated by availability of inadequate genomic resources to undertake any molecular breeding programme for accelerated crop improvement. With the objective of enhancing genomic resources for pigeonpea, this study reports for the first time, large scale development of SSR markers from BAC-end sequences and their subsequent use for genetic mapping and hybridity testing in pigeonpea.
A set of 88,860 BAC (bacterial artificial chromosome)-end sequences (BESs) were generated after constructing two BAC libraries by using HindIII (34,560 clones) and BamHI (34,560 clones) restriction enzymes. Clustering based on sequence identity of BESs yielded a set of >52K non-redundant sequences, comprising 35 Mbp or >4% of the pigeonpea genome. These sequences were analyzed to develop annotation lists and subdivide the BESs into genome fractions (e.g., genes, retroelements, transpons and non-annotated sequences). Parallel analysis of BESs for microsatellites or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) identified 18,149 SSRs, from which a set of 6,212 SSRs were selected for further analysis. A total of 3,072 novel SSR primer pairs were synthesized and tested for length polymorphism on a set of 22 parental genotypes of 13 mapping populations segregating for traits of interest. In total, we identified 842 polymorphic SSR markers that will have utility in pigeonpea improvement. Based on these markers, the first SSR-based genetic map comprising of 239 loci was developed for this previously uncharacterized genome. Utility of developed SSR markers was also demonstrated by identifying a set of 42 markers each for two hybrids (ICPH 2671 and ICPH 2438) for genetic purity assessment in commercial hybrid breeding programme.
In summary, while BAC libraries and BESs should be useful for genomics studies, BES-SSR markers, and the genetic map should be very useful for linking the genetic map with a future physical map as well as for molecular breeding in pigeonpea.
PMCID: PMC3079640  PMID: 21447154
4.  The first set of EST resource for gene discovery and marker development in pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:45.
Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp) is one of the major grain legume crops of the tropics and subtropics, but biotic stresses [Fusarium wilt (FW), sterility mosaic disease (SMD), etc.] are serious challenges for sustainable crop production. Modern genomic tools such as molecular markers and candidate genes associated with resistance to these stresses offer the possibility of facilitating pigeonpea breeding for improving biotic stress resistance. Availability of limited genomic resources, however, is a serious bottleneck to undertake molecular breeding in pigeonpea to develop superior genotypes with enhanced resistance to above mentioned biotic stresses. With an objective of enhancing genomic resources in pigeonpea, this study reports generation and analysis of comprehensive resource of FW- and SMD- responsive expressed sequence tags (ESTs).
A total of 16 cDNA libraries were constructed from four pigeonpea genotypes that are resistant and susceptible to FW ('ICPL 20102' and 'ICP 2376') and SMD ('ICP 7035' and 'TTB 7') and a total of 9,888 (9,468 high quality) ESTs were generated and deposited in dbEST of GenBank under accession numbers GR463974 to GR473857 and GR958228 to GR958231. Clustering and assembly analyses of these ESTs resulted into 4,557 unique sequences (unigenes) including 697 contigs and 3,860 singletons. BLASTN analysis of 4,557 unigenes showed a significant identity with ESTs of different legumes (23.2-60.3%), rice (28.3%), Arabidopsis (33.7%) and poplar (35.4%). As expected, pigeonpea ESTs are more closely related to soybean (60.3%) and cowpea ESTs (43.6%) than other plant ESTs. Similarly, BLASTX similarity results showed that only 1,603 (35.1%) out of 4,557 total unigenes correspond to known proteins in the UniProt database (≤ 1E-08). Functional categorization of the annotated unigenes sequences showed that 153 (3.3%) genes were assigned to cellular component category, 132 (2.8%) to biological process, and 132 (2.8%) in molecular function. Further, 19 genes were identified differentially expressed between FW- responsive genotypes and 20 between SMD- responsive genotypes. Generated ESTs were compiled together with 908 ESTs available in public domain, at the time of analysis, and a set of 5,085 unigenes were defined that were used for identification of molecular markers in pigeonpea. For instance, 3,583 simple sequence repeat (SSR) motifs were identified in 1,365 unigenes and 383 primer pairs were designed. Assessment of a set of 84 primer pairs on 40 elite pigeonpea lines showed polymorphism with 15 (28.8%) markers with an average of four alleles per marker and an average polymorphic information content (PIC) value of 0.40. Similarly, in silico mining of 133 contigs with ≥ 5 sequences detected 102 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 37 contigs. As an example, a set of 10 contigs were used for confirming in silico predicted SNPs in a set of four genotypes using wet lab experiments. Occurrence of SNPs were confirmed for all the 6 contigs for which scorable and sequenceable amplicons were generated. PCR amplicons were not obtained in case of 4 contigs. Recognition sites for restriction enzymes were identified for 102 SNPs in 37 contigs that indicates possibility of assaying SNPs in 37 genes using cleaved amplified polymorphic sequences (CAPS) assay.
The pigeonpea EST dataset generated here provides a transcriptomic resource for gene discovery and development of functional markers associated with biotic stress resistance. Sequence analyses of this dataset have showed conservation of a considerable number of pigeonpea transcripts across legume and model plant species analysed as well as some putative pigeonpea specific genes. Validation of identified biotic stress responsive genes should provide candidate genes for allele mining as well as candidate markers for molecular breeding.
PMCID: PMC2923520  PMID: 20222972
5.  Genetic relationships among seven sections of genus Arachis studied by using SSR markers 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:15.
The genus Arachis, originated in South America, is divided into nine taxonomical sections comprising of 80 species. Most of the Arachis species are diploids (2n = 2x = 20) and the tetraploid species (2n = 2x = 40) are found in sections Arachis, Extranervosae and Rhizomatosae. Diploid species have great potential to be used as resistance sources for agronomic traits like pests and diseases, drought related traits and different life cycle spans. Understanding of genetic relationships among wild species and between wild and cultivated species will be useful for enhanced utilization of wild species in improving cultivated germplasm. The present study was undertaken to evaluate genetic relationships among species (96 accessions) belonging to seven sections of Arachis by using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers developed from Arachis hypogaea genomic library and gene sequences from related genera of Arachis.
The average transferability rate of 101 SSR markers tested to section Arachis and six other sections was 81% and 59% respectively. Five markers (IPAHM 164, IPAHM 165, IPAHM 407a, IPAHM 409, and IPAHM 659) showed 100% transferability. Cluster analysis of allelic data from a subset of 32 SSR markers on 85 wild and 11 cultivated accessions grouped accessions according to their genome composition, sections and species to which they belong. A total of 109 species specific alleles were detected in different wild species, Arachis pusilla exhibited largest number of species specific alleles (15). Based on genetic distance analysis, the A-genome accession ICG 8200 (A. duranensis) and the B-genome accession ICG 8206 (A. ipaënsis) were found most closely related to A. hypogaea.
A set of cross species and cross section transferable SSR markers has been identified that will be useful for genetic studies of wild species of Arachis, including comparative genome mapping, germplasm analysis, population genetic structure and phylogenetic inferences among species. The present study provides strong support based on both genomic and genic markers, probably for the first time, on relationships of A. monticola and A. hypogaea as well as on the most probable donor of A and B-genomes of cultivated groundnut.
PMCID: PMC2826335  PMID: 20089171
6.  Identification of candidate genome regions controlling disease resistance in Arachis 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:112.
Worldwide, diseases are important reducers of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) yield. Sources of resistance against many diseases are available in cultivated peanut genotypes, although often not in farmer preferred varieties. Wild species generally harbor greater levels of resistance and even apparent immunity, although the linkage of agronomically un-adapted wild alleles with wild disease resistance genes is inevitable. Marker-assisted selection has the potential to facilitate the combination of both cultivated and wild resistance loci with agronomically adapted alleles. However, in peanut there is an almost complete lack of knowledge of the regions of the Arachis genome that control disease resistance.
In this work we identified candidate genome regions that control disease resistance. For this we placed candidate disease resistance genes and QTLs against late leaf spot disease on the genetic map of the A-genome of Arachis, which is based on microsatellite markers and legume anchor markers. These marker types are transferable within the genus Arachis and to other legumes respectively, enabling this map to be aligned to other Arachis maps and to maps of other legume crops including those with sequenced genomes. In total, 34 sequence-confirmed candidate disease resistance genes and five QTLs were mapped.
Candidate genes and QTLs were distributed on all linkage groups except for the smallest, but the distribution was not even. Groupings of candidate genes and QTLs for late leaf spot resistance were apparent on the upper region of linkage group 4 and the lower region of linkage group 2, indicating that these regions are likely to control disease resistance.
PMCID: PMC2739205  PMID: 19698131
7.  Genetic structure, diversity, and allelic richness in composite collection and reference set in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:106.
Plant genetic resources (PGR) are the basic raw materials for future genetic progress and an insurance against unforeseen threats to agricultural production. An extensive characterization of PGR provides an opportunity to dissect structure, mine allelic variations, and identify diverse accessions for crop improvement. The Generation Challenge Program conceptualized the development of "composite collections" and extraction of "reference sets" from these for more efficient tapping of global crop-related genetic resources. In this study, we report the genetic structure, diversity and allelic richness in a composite collection of chickpea using SSR markers, and formation of a reference set of 300 accessions.
The 48 SSR markers detected 1683 alleles in 2915 accessions, of which, 935 were considered rare, 720 common and 28 most frequent. The alleles per locus ranged from 14 to 67, averaged 35, and the polymorphic information content was from 0.467 to 0.974, averaged 0.854. Marker polymorphism varied between groups of accessions in the composite collection and reference set. A number of group-specific alleles were detected: 104 in Kabuli, 297 in desi, and 69 in wild Cicer; 114 each in Mediterranean and West Asia (WA), 117 in South and South East Asia (SSEA), and 10 in African region accessions. Desi and kabuli shared 436 alleles, while wild Cicer shared 17 and 16 alleles with desi and kabuli, respectively. The accessions from SSEA and WA shared 74 alleles, while those from Mediterranean 38 and 33 alleles with WA and SSEA, respectively. Desi chickpea contained a higher proportion of rare alleles (53%) than kabuli (46%), while wild Cicer accessions were devoid of rare alleles. A genotype-based reference set captured 1315 (78%) of the 1683 composite collection alleles of which 463 were rare, 826 common, and 26 the most frequent alleles. The neighbour-joining tree diagram of this reference set represents diversity from all directions of the tree diagram of the composite collection.
The genotype-based reference set, reported here, is an ideal set of germplasm for allele mining, association genetics, mapping and cloning gene(s), and in applied breeding for the development of broad-based elite breeding lines/cultivars with superior yield and enhanced adaptation to diverse environments.
PMCID: PMC2583987  PMID: 18922189
8.  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
9.  Isolation and characterization of novel microsatellite markers and their application for diversity assessment in cultivated groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:55.
Cultivated peanut or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is the fourth most important oilseed crop in the world, grown mainly in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates. Due to its origin through a single and recent polyploidization event, followed by successive selection during breeding efforts, cultivated groundnut has a limited genetic background. In such species, microsatellite or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are very informative and useful for breeding applications. The low level of polymorphism in cultivated germplasm, however, warrants a need of larger number of polymorphic microsatellite markers for cultivated groundnut.
A microsatellite-enriched library was constructed from the genotype TMV2. Sequencing of 720 putative SSR-positive clones from a total of 3,072 provided 490 SSRs. 71.2% of these SSRs were perfect type, 13.1% were imperfect and 15.7% were compound. Among these SSRs, the GT/CA repeat motifs were the most common (37.6%) followed by GA/CT repeat motifs (25.9%). The primer pairs could be designed for a total of 170 SSRs and were optimized initially on two genotypes. 104 (61.2%) primer pairs yielded scorable amplicon and 46 (44.2%) primers showed polymorphism among 32 cultivated groundnut genotypes. The polymorphic SSR markers detected 2 to 5 alleles with an average of 2.44 per locus. The polymorphic information content (PIC) value for these markers varied from 0.12 to 0.75 with an average of 0.46. Based on 112 alleles obtained by 46 markers, a phenogram was constructed to understand the relationships among the 32 genotypes. Majority of the genotypes representing subspecies hypogaea were grouped together in one cluster, while the genotypes belonging to subspecies fastigiata were grouped mainly under two clusters.
Newly developed set of 104 markers extends the repertoire of SSR markers for cultivated groundnut. These markers showed a good level of PIC value in cultivated germplasm and therefore would be very useful for germplasm analysis, linkage mapping, diversity studies and phylogenetic relationships in cultivated groundnut as well as related Arachis species.
PMCID: PMC2416452  PMID: 18482440

Results 1-9 (9)