, Volume 265, Issue 3, pp 497-507

Stability and inheritance of methylation states at PstI sites in Pisum

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The nuclear genome of pea is heavily methylated and the stability of this methylation pattern is unknown. In this study we investigated the stability of DNA methylation and its contribution to restriction fragment polymorphism as judged by AFLP fragment differences. To do this the results of a conventional AFLP analysis were compared with those obtained by a related procedure performed on pre-amplified DNA which provided a 5-methylcytosine-free DNA template (SDAFLP). Genetic mapping in a recombinant inbred (RI) population showed that polymorphisms attributable to different methylation states of PstI sites were abundant, and generally appeared to be stably inherited, although occasional failures of the inheritance of methylation states have been found. Assessments of genetic diversity by AFLP and SDAFLP were in general agreement with each other and with the currently accepted phylogeny of Pisum, but within cultivated groups the number of differences appeared to be exaggerated by AFLP. The data suggest that epigenetic differences may have played a role in the domestication of pea.

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