Molecular cytogenetics of the genes encoding 18s-5.8s-26s rRNA and 5s rRNA in two species of spruce (Picea)
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Molecular cytogenetics is a convenient tool to investigate the organization and evolution of plant genomes. In coniferous trees of the Pinaceae, cytogenetic data is rudimentary since individual chromosomes are difficult to distinguish and karyotypes of related species are poorly differentiated. We determined the chromosomal locations of ribosomal RNA genes in white spruce (Picea glauca) and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) using fluorescence in situ hybridization. The biotin-labeled DNA probes consisted of the 5s ribosomal DNA (rDNA) amplified from white spruce using the polymerase chain reaction and a heterologous 18s-5.8s-26s rDNA sequence. The 5s rDNA was present only on chromosome 5 at a single locus and near to an 18s-5.8s-26s rDNA locus in both species. Additional 18s-5.8s-26s rDNA loci were found at interstitial sites on six and four chromosomes of white and Sitka spruce, respectively, providing potentially useful interspecific differences. Progress in karyotyping both species is presented. A molecular analysis of 5s rDNA of white spruce revealed the presence of two classes of repeating units, one of 221 bp corresponding to the PCR amplification product, and another of approximately 600 bp. The nucleotide sequence and copy number of the 221-bp class is reported.
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