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PLoS One. 2009 Oct 8;4(10):e7386. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007386.

Integrating the genetic and physical maps of Arabidopsis thaliana: identification of mapped alleles of cloned essential (EMB) genes.

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Department of Botany, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States of America.


The classical genetic map of Arabidopsis includes more than 130 genes with an embryo-defective (emb) mutant phenotype. Many of these essential genes remain to be cloned. Hundreds of additional EMB genes have been cloned and catalogued ( but not mapped. To facilitate EMB gene identification and assess the current level of saturation, we updated the classical map, compared the physical and genetic locations of mapped loci, and performed allelism tests between mapped (but not cloned) and cloned (but not mapped) emb mutants with similar chromosome locations. Two hundred pairwise combinations of genes located on chromosomes 1 and 5 were tested and more than 1100 total crosses were screened. Sixteen of 51 mapped emb mutants examined were found to be disrupted in a known EMB gene. Alleles of a wide range of published EMB genes (YDA, GLA1, TIL1, AtASP38, AtDEK1, EMB506, DG1, OEP80) were discovered. Two EMS mutants isolated 30 years ago, T-DNA mutants with complex insertion sites, and a mutant with an atypical, embryo-specific phenotype were resolved. The frequency of allelism encountered was consistent with past estimates of 500 to 1000 EMB loci. New EMB genes identified among mapped T-DNA insertion mutants included CHC1, which is required for chromatin remodeling, and SHS1/AtBT1, which encodes a plastidial nucleotide transporter similar to the maize Brittle1 protein required for normal endosperm development. Two classical genetic markers (PY, ALB1) were identified based on similar map locations of known genes required for thiamine (THIC) and chlorophyll (PDE166) biosynthesis. The alignment of genetic and physical maps presented here should facilitate the continued analysis of essential genes in Arabidopsis and further characterization of a broad spectrum of mutant phenotypes in a model plant.

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