, Volume 110, Issue 7, pp 1210-1217
Date: 02 Apr 2005

Cross-species amplification of Medicago truncatula microsatellites across three major pulse crops

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Model plants are facilitating the genetic characterization and comparative mapping of a number of traditional crops. Medicago truncatula has been widely accepted as a model plant to this end as it provides the essential tools for multiple aspects of legume genetics and genomics. A large set of markers from highly conserved M. truncatula gene regions is being created and used to establish a worldwide framework for comparative genomic studies in legumes. We have investigated the potential for cross-species amplification of 209 expressed sequence tag (EST)-based and 33 bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based microsatellites from M. truncatula in the three most important European legume pulses—pea, faba bean and chickpea—that might facilitate future comparative mapping. Our results revealed significant transferability of M. truncatula microsatellites to the three pulses (40% in faba bean, 36.3% in chickpea and 37.6% in pea). The percentage of M. truncatula EST-SSRs (simple sequence repeats) amplified in the three crops (39–43%) was twofold higher than that of the genomic SSRs (21–24%). Sequence analysis determined that the level of conservation in the microsatellite motif was very low, while the flanking regions were generally well conserved. The variations in the sequences were mainly due to changes in the number of repeat motifs in the microsatellite region combined with indel and base substitutions. None of the functional microsatellites showed direct polymorphism among the parental genotypes tested, consequently preventing their immediate use for mapping purposes.

Communicated by F.J. Muehlbauer