Indexed on: 16 Aug '14Published on: 16 Aug '14Published in: PloS one
Microsatellites or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) are highly informative molecular markers for various biological studies in plants. In spruce (Picea) and other conifers, the development of single-copy polymorphic genomic microsatellite markers is quite difficult, owing primarily to the large genome size and predominance of repetitive DNA sequences throughout the genome. We have developed highly informative single-locus genomic microsatellite markers in black spruce (Picea mariana) and red spruce (Picea rubens) using a simple but efficient method based on a combination of AFLP and microsatellite technologies.A microsatellite-enriched library was constructed from genomic AFLP DNA fragments of black spruce. Sequencing of the 108 putative SSR-containing clones provided 94 unique sequences with microsatellites. Twenty-two of the designed 34 primer pairs yielded scorable amplicons, with single-locus patterns. Fourteen of these microsatellite markers were characterized in 30 black spruce and 30 red spruce individuals drawn from many populations. The number of alleles at a polymorphic locus ranged from 2 to 18, with a mean of 9.3 in black spruce, and from 3 to 15, with a mean of 6.2 alleles in red spruce. The polymorphic information content or expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.340 to 0.909 (mean = 0.67) in black spruce and from 0.161 to 0.851 (mean = 0.62) in red spruce. Ten SSR markers showing inter-parental polymorphism inherited in a single-locus Mendelian mode, with two cases of distorted segregation. Primer pairs for almost all polymorphic SSR loci resolved microsatellites of comparable size in Picea glauca, P. engelmannii, P. sitchensis, and P. abies.The AFLP-based microsatellite-enriched library appears to be a rapid, cost-effective approach for isolating and developing single-locus informative genomic microsatellite markers in black spruce. The markers developed should be useful in black spruce, red spruce and other Picea species for various genetics, genomics, breeding, forensics, conservation studies and applications.