, Volume 92, Issue 6, pp 733-743

Ribosomal DNA variations in Erianthus, a wild sugarcane relative (Andropogoneae-Saccharinae)

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Abstract

Variation at the 18S+26S and 5S ribosomal DNA loci was assessed on 62 Erianthus Michx. clones, representing 11 species, and 15 clones from two Saccharum L. species used as a reference. Genus-specific markers for Erianthus Michx. sect. Ripidium Henrard (Old World species) were identified. Ribosomal DNA units in Erianthus sect. Ripidium exhibited an additional BamHI site compared to Saccharum, and 5S units showed length and restriction-site differences between Erianthus and Saccharum. These markers will be useful to follow introgression in Saccharum x Erianthus hybrids. Six ribosomal units (for 18+26S genes) were revealed in Erianthus sect. Ripidium, differing by restriction-site positions and/or length. These results provided new information on species relationships and evolution within the genus Erianthus. The Indonesian and Indian forms of E. arundinaceus (Retz.) Jeswiet gave different restriction patterns, which were similar to those of E. bengalense (Retz.) R. C. Bharadwaja and E. procerus (Roxb.) Raizade, respectively. The two 2n=20 species, E. ele-phantinus Hook.f. and E. ravennae (L.) P. Beauv., could also be differentiated at this locus. Two of the New World Erianthus species studied, E. rufipilus (Steud.) Griseb. and E. longisetosus Andersson, appeared more like Erianthus sect. Ripidium, whereas E. trinii Hack, and E. brevibardis Michx. showed patterns consistent with Miscanthus sinensis Andersson and S. spontaneum L., respectively. Finally, the comparison of rDNA restriction maps among Erianthus sect. Ripidium, Saccharum, sorghum and maize, led to unexpected conclusions concerning the relationships between the different genera and the position of Erianthus in the “Saccharum complex”.

Communicated by G. E. Hart