, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 395-407
Date: 22 Apr 2010

Conversion of AFLP markers to high-throughput markers in a complex polyploid, sugarcane

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The application of DNA markers linked to traits of commercial value in sugarcane may increase the efficiency of sugarcane breeding. The majority of markers generated for quantitative trait locus mapping in sugarcane have been single sequence repeats or AFLPs (amplified fragment length polymorphisms). Since AFLP markers are not adapted for large-scale implementation in plant breeding, our objective was to assess the feasibility of converting AFLP markers to fast, cheap and reliable PCR-based assays in a complex polyploid, sugarcane. Three AFLP markers were selected on the basis of an association to resistance to the fungal pathogen Ustilago scitaminea, the causal agent of smut in sugarcane. We developed an approach which enabled the identification of polymorphisms in these AFLP markers. Towards this goal, we employed GenomeWalking and 454 sequencing to isolate sequences adjacent to the linked AFLP markers and identify SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) haplotypes present in the homo(eo)logous chromosomes of sugarcane. One AFLP marker was converted to a cleavage amplified polymorphic sequence marker, another to a SCAR (sequence characteristered amplified region) marker and the final AFLP marker to a SNP PCR-based assay. However, validation of each of the markers in 240 genotypes resulted in 99, 90 and 60% correspondence with the original AFLP marker. These experiments indicate that even in a complex polyploid such as sugarcane, polymorphisms identified by AFLP can be converted to high-throughput marker systems, but due to the complexity this would only be carried out for high-value markers. In some cases, the polymorphisms identified are not transferable to more sequence-specific PCR applications.