Identification of DNA markers linked to the male sex in dioecious hemp (Cannabis sativa L.)
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A 400-bp RAPD marker generated by a primer of random decamer sequence has been found associated with the male sex phenotype in 14 dioecious cultivars and accessions of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). The primer OPA8 generates a set of bands, most of which polymorphic among all the individual plants tested, and 1 of which, named OPA8400, present in all male plants and absent in female plants. A screening of 167 plants belonging to different genotypes for the association of the OPA8400 marker with the sex phenotype revealed that only in 3 cases was the 400-bp band was present in plants phenotypically female; on the contrary, in male plants the band was never missing, while in monoecious plants it was never present. Despite this sex-specific association, the sequences corresponding to OPA8400 were present in both staminate and carpellate plants, as revealed by Southern blotting and hybridization with the cloned RAPD band. The RAPD marker was sequenced, and specific primers were constructed. These primers generated, on the same genotypes used for RAPD analysis, a SCAR marker 390 bp in length and male-specific. This SCAR is suitable for a precise, early and rapid identification of male plants during breeding programs of dioecious and monoecious hemp.
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