Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 109–118

Restriction fragment polymorphisms as probes for plant diversity and their development as tools for applied plant breeding


  • Tim Helentjaris
    • NPI
  • Gretchen King
    • NPI
  • Mary Slocum
    • NPI
  • Chris Siedenstrang
    • NPI
  • Sharon Wegman
    • NPI

DOI: 10.1007/BF00020093

Cite this article as:
Helentjaris, T., King, G., Slocum, M. et al. Plant Mol Biol (1985) 5: 109. doi:10.1007/BF00020093


Maize and tomato cDNA clones have been hybridized in Southern blotting experiments to plant genomic DNA prepared from different lines to detect restriction fragment polymorphisms (RFPs). In maize we have found that a high degree of genetic variability is present, even among domestic inbred lines. Most randomly chosen maize cDNA clones can be used to detect elements of this variability. Similar levels of polymorphism are observed when genomic DNA is digested with any of a number of different restriction enzymes and probed with individual clones. When a clone is hybridized to genomic DNAs prepared from several different maize lines, a number of different alleles are often detected at a single locus. At the same time one clone can often detect more than one independently segregating locus by cross hybridization to related sequences at other loci. As expected these markers are inherited as simple codominant Mendelian alleles from one generation to the next and colinkage of these markers can be demonstrated in the progeny from a heterozygous parent. In similar studies with tomato, remarkably different results were found. Few RFPs were demonstrable among domestic Lycopersicon esculentum lines although a higher level of variability could be detected when comparing esculentum with its wild Lycopersicon relatives. These results are discussed in relation to the applied uses of RFPs in plant breeding as well as the inherent variability of different plant genomes.


restriction fragment polymorphismplant genomic variabilitymaizetomato

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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1985