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Mol Genet Genomics. 2003 Dec;270(5):371-7. Epub 2003 Nov 1.

Discrimination of homoeologous gene expression in hexaploid wheat by SNP analysis of contigs grouped from a large number of expressed sequence tags.

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Kihara Institute for Biological Research, Graduate School of Integrated Science, Yokohama City University, 244-0813 Yokohama, Japan.


Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are useful markers for gene diagnosis and mapping of genes on chromosomes. However, polyploidy, which is characteristic of the evolution of higher plants, complicates the analysis of SNPs in the duplicated genes. We have developed a new method for SNP analysis in hexaploid wheat. First, we classified a large number of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from wheat in silico. Those grouped into contigs were anticipated to correspond to transcripts from homoeologous loci. We then selected relatively abundant ESTs, and assigned these contigs to each of the homoeologous chromosomes using a nullisomic/tetrasomic series of Chinese Spring wheat strains in combination with pyrosequencing. The ninety genes assigned were almost evenly distributed into seven homologous chromosomes. We then created a virtual display of the relative expression of these genes. Expression patterns of genes from the three genomes in hexaploid wheat were classified into two major groups: (1) genes almost equally expressed from all three genomes; and (2) genes expressed with a significant preference, which changed from tissue to tissue, from certain genomes. In 11 cases, one of the three genes in the allopolyploid was found to be silenced. No preference for gene-silencing in particular genomes or chromosomes was observed, suggesting that gene-silencing occurred after polyploidization, and at the gene level, not at the chromosome or genome level. Thus, the use of this SNP method to distinguish the expression profiles of three homoeologous genes may help to elucidate the molecular basis of heterosis in polyploid plants.

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