Development and characterisation of 140 new microsatellites in apple (Malus x domestica Borkh.)
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The availability of suitable genetic markers is essential to efficiently select and breed apple varieties of high quality and with multiple disease resistances. Microsatellites (simple sequence repeats, SSR) are very useful in this respect since they are codominant, highly polymorphic, abundant and reliably reproducible. Over 140 new SSR markers have been developed in apple and tested on a panel of 7 cultivars and 1 breeding selection. Their high level of polymorphism is expressed with an average of 6.1 alleles per locus and an average heterozygosity (H) of 0.74. Of all SSR markers, 115 have been positioned on a genetic linkage map of the cross ‘Fiesta’ × ‘Discovery’. As a result, all 17 linkage groups, corresponding to the 17 chromosomes of apple, were identified. Each chromosome carries at least two SSR markers, allowing the alignment of any apple molecular marker map both with regard to identification as well as to orientation of the linkage groups. To test the degree of conservation of the SSR flanking regions and the transferability of the SSR markers to other Rosaceae species, 15 primer pairs were tested on a series of Maloideae and Amygdaloideae species. The usefulness of the newly developed microsatellites in genetic mapping is demonstrated by means of the genetic linkage map. The possibility of constructing a global apple linkage map and the impact of such a number of microsatellite markers on gene and QTL mapping is discussed.
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