High-throughput genetic mapping in Arabidopsis thaliana
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To facilitate rapid determination of the chromosomal location of novel mutations, we have improved current approaches to gene mapping using microsatellite length polymorphisms. The high-throughput linkage analysis method described here allows a novel gene to be tested for linkage against the whole genome of a multicellular eukaryote, Arabidopsis thaliana, in a single polyacrylamide gel. The procedure is based on the simultaneous co-amplification of 21 microsatellites in a single tube, using a multiplex PCR mix containing 21 primer pairs, each including one oligonucleotide labeled with one of three fluorescent dyes that have different emission wavelengths. The amplification products, which range in number from 21 to 42, depending on the genotype of the individual being tested, are electrophoresed in a single lane on a polyacrylamide gel. The use of an automated fragment analyzer makes it possible to perform linkage analysis on a one gel-one gene basis using DNA samples from 19 F2 individuals obtained from an outcross involving a mutant and a wild-type that is genetically polymorphic with respect to the ecotype in which the mutant was generated. Discrimination of the amplification products is facilitated not only by labeling with different fluorochromes, but also by prior testing of different sequences for the ability to prime the amplification of each microsatellite, in order to ensure that multiplex PCR yields compatible amplification products of non-overlapping size. The method is particularly useful in large-scale mutagenesis projects, as well as for routine mapping of single mutants, since it reveals the map position of a gene less than 24 h after the F2 individuals to be analyzed have become available. The concepts employed here can easily be extended to other biological systems.
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