Microsatellites and RFLP probes from maize are efficient sources of molecular markers for the biomass energy crop Miscanthus
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A survey of Gramineae markers was carried out with the aim of developing cost-effective methods for the molecular analysis of Miscanthus species. Ten out of twenty Gramineae RFLP probes from ”anchor” sets hybridized well to Miscanthus DNA while all 15 maize probes tested cross-hybridized successfully, showing similar patterns in both species. Cross-taxa amplification of maize microsatellite primers was then tested. This showed that 57 out of 76 (75%) give highly reproducible amplification with Miscanthus DNA. Amplification products differed in size from those in maize but there was no bias toward higher or lower molecular weights. Microsatellite polymorphism produced by 17 primer pairs was studied in detail in a panel of 11 Miscanthus clones belonging to the species Miscanthus sinensis, Miscanthus sacchariflorus, Miscanthus ×giganteus and Miscanthus condensatus. Intra- and inter-specific length polymorphisms were frequent between the tested Miscanthus clones with length polymorphisms being found for all primer pairs, detecting 3–22 alleles. Polymorphism information content (PIC) values for microsatellites ranged from 0.48 to 0.94 with an average of 0.83. Species-specific amplicons were produced by two microsatellites. Genetic similarity coefficients of the Miscanthus clones ranged from 0.35 to 0.92, with an average of 0.57. Five polymorphisms were studied in a segregating population, where they showed Mendelian inheritance. In addition, two microsatellite markers mapping 1.3-cM apart on maize chromosome 7 were linked in Miscanthus at an estimated distance of 8 cM, suggesting collinearity. The high transferability of microsatellite markers from maize will enhance the power and resolution of genome analysis in Miscanthus.
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