We evaluated the potential of microsatellite markers for use in Citrus genome analysis. Microsatellite loci were identified by screening enriched and nonenriched libraries developed from `Washington Navel' Citrus. Microsatellite-containing clones were sequenced and 26 specific PCR primers were selected for cross-species amplification and identification of cultivars/clones in Citrus. After an enrichment procedure, on average 69.9% of clones contained dinucleotide repeats (CA)n and (CT)n, in contrast to <25% of the clones that were identified as positive in hybridization screening of a nonenriched library. A library enriched for trinucleotide (CTT)n contained <15% of the clones with (CTT)n repeats. Repeat length for most of the dinucleotide microsatellites was in the range of 10 to 30 units. We observed that enrichment procedure pulled out more of the (CA)n repeats than (CT)n repeats from the Citrus genome. All microsatellites were polymorphic except one. No correlation was observed between the number of alleles and the number of microsatellite repeats. In total, 118 putative alleles were detected using 26 primer pairs. The number of putative alleles per primer pair ranged from one to nine with an average of 4.5. Microsatellite markers discriminated sweet oranges [Citrus sinensis (L.) osb], mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.), lemon [Citrus limon (L.) Burm.f.], and citrange (hybrids of trifoliate orange and sweet orange), at the species level, but individual cultivars/clones within sweet oranges, mandarins and grapefruit known to have evolved by somatic mutation remained undistinguishable. Since these microsatellite markers were conserved within different Citrus species, they could be used for linkage mapping, evolutionary and taxonomic study in Citrus.
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