Original Paper

Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 1143-1150

First online:

Development of male-specific SCAR marker in date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.)

  • Charu DhawanAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University
  • , Pushpa KharbAffiliated withCentre for Plant Biotechnology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University Email author 
  • , Richa SharmaAffiliated withMolecular Marker Laboratory, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB)
  • , Sanjogta UppalAffiliated withDepartment of Genetics, CCS Haryana Agricultural University
  • , Ramesh K. AggarwalAffiliated withMolecular Genetics Laboratory, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) Email author 

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Genetics of control mechanisms that underlies sex differentiation in date palm is not known. Sex of the plants becomes known only at the time of first flowering, which takes around 5 years. In comparison, molecular diagnosis (if available/feasible) promises quick and reliable identification of sex types very early when plantlets are growing in seedbeds. To develop such an assay, genomic DNA from 45 individual plants (25 female and 20 male) belonging to different varieties of date palm was subjected to PCR amplification using 100 random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and 104 intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) primers. Initially, two bulk genomic DNA samples (each made by pooling DNA from ten male and female plants, separately) were used. A primer showing sex-specific band in bulked samples was further used for amplification of the genomic DNA of the individual samples of that bulk. Only one RAPD primer, OPA-02, amplified a fragment of ~1.0 kb in all the individual samples of male genotypes, whereas this fragment was absent in all the female genotypes. This male-specific fragment was cloned and sequenced (GenBank accession no. JN123357), and a sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) primer pair was designed that amplified a 406-bp fragment in both female and male genotypes and a unique fragment of 354 bp in only male genotypes. The SCAR marker was further validated using 25 female and ten male date palm plants belonging to different varieties collected from different locations.


Date palm Sex-specific marker RAPD ISSR SCAR Sex diagnosis