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Genome. 1997 Dec;40(6):887-95.

Simple sequence repeat DNA markers in alfalfa and perennial and annual Medicago species.


Simple sequence repeat (SSR) or microsatellite DNA markers have been shown to function well in plant and mammalian species for genetic map construction and genotype identification. The objectives of the work reported here were to search GenBank for the presence of SSR-containing sequences from the genus Medicago, to assess the presence and frequency of SSR DNA in the alfalfa (Medicago sativa (L.) L. &L.) genome, and to examine the function of selected markers in a spectrum of perennial and annual Medicago species. The screening of an alfalfa genomic DNA library and sequencing of clones putatively containing SSRs indicated approximately 19 000 (AT)n + (CT)n + (CA)n + (ATT)n SSRs in the tetraploid genome. Inheritance was consistent with Mendelian expectations at four selected SSR loci with different core motifs. Additionally, genotypes of a range of Medicago species, including 10 perennial subspecies of the M. sativa complex and other perennial and annual Medicago species, were analyzed at each of the loci to ascertain the presence, number, and size of SSR alleles at each locus in each genotype. These studies indicate that SSR markers can function in alfalfa for the construction of genetic maps and will also be useful in a range of Medicago species for purposes of assessing genetic relatedness and taxonomic relationships, and for genotype identification.

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