New microsatellite markers for pigeonpea (cajanus cajan (L.) millsp.)

D A Odeny, B Jayashree, C Gebhardt, J Crouch
BMC Research Notes 2009, 2: 35

BACKGROUND: Pigeonpea is a nutritious tropical legume with several desirable characteristics but has been relatively neglected in terms of research. More efficient improvement can be achieved in this crop through molecular breeding but adequate molecular markers are lacking and no linkage map has been developed so far. Microsatellites remain the markers of choice due to their high polymorphism and their transferability from closely related genera. The overall objective of this study was to develop microsatellite markers from an enriched library of pigeonpea as well as testing the transferability of soybean microsatellites in pigeonpea.

RESULTS: Primers were designed for 113 pigeonpea genomic SSRs, 73 of which amplified interpretable bands. Thirty-five of the primers revealed polymorphism among 24 pigeonpea breeding lines. The number of alleles detected ranged from 2 to 6 with a total of 110 alleles and an average of 3.1 alleles per locus. GT/CA and GAA class of repeats were the most abundant di-nucleotide and tri-nucleotide repeats respectively. Additionally, 220 soybean primers were tested in pigeonpea, 39 of which amplified interpretable bands.

CONCLUSION: Despite the observed morphological diversity, there is little genetic diversity within cultivated pigeonpea as revealed by the developed microsatellites. Although some of the tested soybean microsatellites may be transferable to pigeonpea, lack of useful polymorphism may hinder their full use. A robust set of markers will still have to be developed for pigeonpea genome if molecular breeding is to be achieved.

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