, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 227–235 | Cite as

Exploiting an oil palm EST database for the development of gene-derived SSR markers and their exploitation for assessment of genetic diversity

  • Rajinder SinghEmail author
  • Noorhariza Mohd Zaki
  • Ngoot-Chin Ting
  • Rozana Rosli
  • Soon-Guan Tan
  • Eng-Ti Leslie Low
  • Maizura Ithnin
  • Suan-Choo Cheah
Full Paper


A total of 5,521 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from oil palm were used to search for type and frequency of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Dimeric repeat motifs appeared to be the most abundant, followed by tri-nucleotide repeats. Redundancy was eliminated in the original EST set, resulting in 145 SSRs in 136 unique ESTs (114 singletons and 22 clusters). Primers were designed for 94 (69.1%) of the unique ESTs (consisting of 14 consensus and 80 singletons). Primers for 10 EST-SSRs were developed and used to evaluate the genetic diversity of 76 accessions of oil palm originating from seven countries in Africa, and the standard Deli dura population. The average number of observed and effective alleles was 2.56 and 1.84, respectively. The EST-SSR markers were found to be polymorphic with a mean polymorphic information content value of 0.53. Genetic differentiation (F ST) among the populations studied was 0.2492 indicating high level of genetic divergence. Moreover, the UPGMA (unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean) analysis revealed a strong association between genetic distance and geographic location of the populations studied. The germplasm materials exhibited higher diversity than Deli dura, indicating their potential usefulness in oil palm improvement programmes. The study also revealed that the populations from Nigeria, Congo and Cameroon showed the highest diversity among the germplasm evaluated in this study. The EST-SSRs further demonstrated their worth as a new source of polymorphic markers for phylogenetic analysis, since a high percentage of the markers showed transferability across species and palm taxa.

Key words

oil palm EST-SSR germplasm 



expressed sequence tags


Malaysian Palm Oil Board


polymorphic information content


random amplified polymorphic DNA


restriction fragment length polymorphism


simple sequence repeat


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Copyright information

© Versita 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajinder Singh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Noorhariza Mohd Zaki
    • 1
  • Ngoot-Chin Ting
    • 1
  • Rozana Rosli
    • 1
  • Soon-Guan Tan
    • 2
  • Eng-Ti Leslie Low
    • 1
  • Maizura Ithnin
    • 1
  • Suan-Choo Cheah
    • 1
  1. 1.Advanced Biotechnology and Breeding CentreMalaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)Kuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Biology Department, Faculty of ScienceUniversity Putra MalaysiaUPM SerdangMalaysia

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