, 214:185 | Cite as

Developing and validating microsatellite markers in elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum S.)

  • Yolanda López
  • Aleksey Kurashev
  • Christine Chase
  • Maria Gallo
  • Lynn Sollenberger
  • Fredy Altpeter
  • Jianping WangEmail author


Elephant grass [Pennisetum purpureum S.; syn. Cenchrus purpureus (Schumach.) Morrone] is an important global forage crop and is recognized for high yields of herbage with good nutritive value. It also has high biomass potential to be utilized as a biofuel feedstock. Whereas several previous genetic studies adapted simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers from pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.] for investigations in elephant grass, the present study developed SSR markers from 3536 DNA sequences derived from 16 elephant grass entries. A total of 3866 SSRs were identified including 1028 monomeric, 2019 dimeric, 735 trimeric, 49 tetrameric, 20 pentameric and 15 hexameric repeat motifs. Three hundred and seven sequences contained more than one repeated motif, and 154 SSRs were present in compound formation. Susequenctly,  four elephant grass and two pearl millet genotypes were chosen to validate 727 SSR markers. Of these, 628 markers produced visually detectable amplification products, including 73 (11.6%) polymorphic ones across all six genotypes. Polymorphism between the four elephant grass genotypes was revealed by 316 (50.6%) markers with diversity index values ranging from 0.75 to 0.38. Dimeric SSRs had the highest polymorphic rate (48.7%). These validated SSR markers had 58.6% (368 of 628) transferability rate to pearl millet. The availability of these polymorphic SSR markers will support advanced genetic studies in P. purpureum and its relatives.


Cenchrus purpureus Elephantgrass Napiergrass Pennisetum glaucum Pearl millet SSR markers Microsatellites 



The authors appreciate William Anderson USDA-ARS Tifton GA for providing elephant grass accession N122, Andrea Villa, Agronomy Department, University of Florida, for her guidance on running the acrylamide gels, Liping Wang, Agronomy Department, University of Florida, for her help reviewing the manuscript, Paul D. Ramírez-López, Graciela Jimenez and Katherine Toro, for their helps in checking values in the tables. The research was supported by USDA Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture Research Caribbean Award 2008-34135-19505 and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Project 1011664.

Supplementary material

10681_2018_2256_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (132 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 132 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agronomy Department, IFASUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Horticultural Sciences DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, Genetics InstituteUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Delaware Valley UniversityDoylestownUSA

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