Characterization and development of EST-derived SSR markers in cultivated sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas)

Zhangying Wang, Jun Li, Zhongxia Luo, Lifei Huang, Xinliang Chen, Boping Fang, Yujun Li, Jingyi Chen, Xiongjian Zhang
BMC Plant Biology 2011, 11: 139

BACKGROUND: Currently there exists a limited availability of genetic marker resources in sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), which is hindering genetic research in this species. It is necessary to develop more molecular markers for potential use in sweetpotato genetic research. With the newly developed next generation sequencing technology, large amount of transcribed sequences of sweetpotato have been generated and are available for identifying SSR markers by data mining.

RESULTS: In this study, we investigated 181,615 ESTs for the identification and development of SSR markers. In total, 8,294 SSRs were identified from 7,163 SSR-containing unique ESTs. On an average, one SSR was found per 7.1 kb of EST sequence with tri-nucleotide motifs (42.9%) being the most abundant followed by di- (41.2%), tetra- (9.2%), penta- (3.7%) and hexa-nucleotide (3.1%) repeat types. The top five motifs included AG/CT (26.9%), AAG/CTT (13.5%), AT/TA (10.6%), CCG/CGG (5.8%) and AAT/ATT (4.5%). After removing possible duplicate of published EST-SSRs of sweetpotato, a total of non-repeat 7,958 SSR motifs were identified. Based on these SSR-containing sequences, 1,060 pairs of high-quality SSR primers were designed and used for validation of the amplification and assessment of the polymorphism between two parents of one mapping population (E Shu 3 Hao and Guang 2k-30) and eight accessions of cultivated sweetpotatoes. The results showed that 816 primer pairs could yield reproducible and strong amplification products, of which 195 (23.9%) and 342 (41.9%) primer pairs exhibited polymorphism between E Shu 3 Hao and Guang 2k-30 and among the 8 cultivated sweetpotatoes, respectively.

CONCLUSION: This study gives an insight into the frequency, type and distribution of sweetpotato EST-SSRs and demonstrates successful development of EST-SSR markers in cultivated sweetpotato. These EST-SSR markers could enrich the current resource of molecular markers for the sweetpotato community and would be useful for qualitative and quantitative trait mapping, marker-assisted selection, evolution and genetic diversity studies in cultivated sweetpotato and related Ipomoea species.

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