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BMC Genomics. 2013 Dec 16;14:886. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-886.

Rapid microsatellite development for tree peony and its implications.

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Beijing Botanical Garden, Key Laboratory of Plant Resources, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, PR China.



Microsatellites are ubiquitous in genomes of various organisms. With the realization that they play roles in developmental and physiological processes, rather than exist as 'junk' DNA, microsatellites are receiving increasing attention. Next-generation sequencing allows acquisition of large-scale microsatellite information, and is especially useful for plants without reference genome sequences.


In this study, enriched DNA libraries of tree peony, a well-known ornamental woody shrub, were used for high-throughput microsatellite development by 454 GS-FLX Titanium pyrosequencing. We obtained 675,221 reads with an average length of 356 bp. The total size of examined sequences was 240,672,018 bp, from which 237,134 SSRs were identified. Of these sequences, 164,043 contained SSRs, with 27% featuring more than one SSR. Interestingly, a high proportion of SSRs (43%) were present in compound formation. SSRs with repeat motifs of 1-4 bp (mono-, di-, tri-, and tetra-nucleotide repeats) accounted for 99.8% of SSRs. Di-nucleotide repeats were the most abundant. As in most plants, the predominant motif in tree peony was (A/T)n, with (G/C)n less common. The lengths of SSRs were classified into 11 groups. The shortest SSRs (10 bp) represented 1% of the total number, whereas SSRs 21-30 and 101-110 bp long accounted for 26% and 29%, respectively, of all SSRs. Many sequences (42,111) were mapped to CDS (coding domain sequence) regions using Arabidopsis as a reference. GO annotation analysis predicted that CDSs with SSRs performed various functions associated with cellular components, molecular functions, and biological processes. Of 100 validated primer pairs, 24 were selected for polymorphism analysis among 23 genotypes; cluster analysis of the resulting data grouped genotypes according to known relationships, confirming the usefulness of the developed SSR markers.


The results of our large-scale SSR marker development using tree peony are valuable for investigating plant genomic structural evolution and elucidating phenotypic variation in this species during its evolution and artificial selection. The newly identified SSRs should be useful for genetic linkage map construction, QTL mapping, gene location and cloning, and molecular marker-assisted breeding. In addition, the genome-wide marker resources generated in this study should aid genomic studies of tree peony and related species.

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