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Microsatellite markers: an overview of the recent progress in plants

Abstract

In recent years, molecular markers have been utilized for a variety of applications including examination of genetic relationships between individuals, mapping of useful genes, construction of linkage maps, marker assisted selections and backcrosses, population genetics and phylogenetic studies. Among the available molecular markers, microsatellites or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) which are tandem repeats of one to six nucleotide long DNA motifs, have gained considerable importance in plant genetics and breeding owing to many desirable genetic attributes including hypervariability, multiallelic nature, codominant inheritance, reproducibility, relative abundance, extensive genome coverage including organellar genomes, chromosome specific location and amenability to automation and high throughput genotyping. High degree of allelic variation revealed by microsatellite markers results from variation in number of repeat-motifs at a locus caused by replication slippage and/or unequal crossing-over during meiosis. In spite of limited understanding of the functions of the SSR motifs within the plant genes, SSRs are being widely utilized in plant genome analysis. Microsatellites can be developed directly from genomic DNA libraries or from libraries enriched for specific microsatellites. Alternatively, microsatellites can also be found by searching public databases such as GenBank and EMBL or through cross-species transferability. At present, EST databases are an important source of candidate genes, as these can generate markers directly associated with a trait of interest and may be transferable in close relative genera. A large number of SSR based techniques have been developed and a quantum of literature has accumulated regarding the applicability of SSRs in plant genetics and genomics. In this review we discuss the recent developments (last 4–5 years) made in plant genetics using SSR markers.

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Kalia, R.K., Rai, M.K., Kalia, S. et al. Microsatellite markers: an overview of the recent progress in plants. Euphytica 177, 309–334 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-010-0286-9

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Keywords

  • Cross-species transferability
  • Expressed sequence tags
  • Molecular markers
  • Population genetics
  • Transcription slippage