, Volume 99, Issue 5, pp 859-867

Polymorphic simple sequence repeat markers in chloroplast genomes of Solanaceous plants

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PCR-based markers were developed from mononucleotide simple-sequence repeats in the chloroplast genome of Nicotiana tabacum and applied to the analysis of genetic diversity. These markers were found to detect high levels of polymorphism at three taxonomic levels in Solanaceous plants. Of 36 chloroplast loci examined, 26 show some degree of polymorphism among potato accessions. Among a set of 30 tetraploid potato cultivars it is apparent that a single chloroplast haplotype is prevalent, presumably a result of the widespread use as a female parent of the imported US cultivar Rough Purple Chili in the latter half of the 19th century. Nonetheless, there is considerable chloroplast diversity in the cultivated potato, and it is clear that a large proportion of this variability has arisen through the use of wild or primitive cultivated species of potato in introgression programmes. This variability should be used in future breeding programmes. An examination of single accessions from 24 potato species, as well as representatives from tobacco and other members of the Solanaceae, reveals high levels of inter-specific chloroplast DNA variation. These data, and the ease of use and potential for multiplexing of these markers, suggest that cpSSRs will be of great utility in population genetics, germplasm management, evolutionary and phylogenetic studies as well as in, the analysis of material from introgression and somatic-fusion experiments. Interestingly, the polymorphism arising from one of the more-polymorphic chloroplast loci examined, does not originate solely from the SSR, and is due to variation in the copy number of two tandemly arrayed sequence elements.

Received: 15 December 1998 / Accepted: 9 February 1999