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Efficient detection of novel nuclear markers for brassicaceae by transcriptome sequencing

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Stockenhuber Reinhold, Zoller Stefan, Shimizu-Inatsugi Rie, Gugerli Felix, Shimizu Kentaro K., Widmer Alex, Fischer Martin C.,
Project Adaptation and biodiversity in alpine habitats - integrating genomic and ecological perspectives
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal PLOS ONE
Volume (Issue) 10(6)
Page(s) 1 - 19
Title of proceedings PLOS ONE
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0128181

Open Access


The lack of DNA sequence information for most non-model organisms impairs the design of primers that are universally applicable for the study of molecular polymorphisms in nuclear markers. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques nowadays provide a powerful approach to overcome this limitation. We present a flexible and inexpensive method to identify large numbers of nuclear primer pairs that amplify in most Brassicaceae species. We first obtained and mapped NGS transcriptome sequencing reads from two of the distantly related Brassicaceae species, Cardamine hirsuta and Arabis alpina, onto the Arabidopsis thaliana reference genome, and then identified short conserved sequence motifs among the three species bioinformatically. From these, primer pairs to amplify coding regions (nuclear protein coding loci, NPCL) and exon-primed intron-crossing sequences (EPIC) were developed. We identified 2,334 universally applicable primer pairs, targeting 1,164 genes, which provide a large pool of markers as readily usable genomic resource that will help addressing novel questions in the Brassicaceae family. Testing a subset of the newly designed nuclear primer pairs revealed that a great majority yielded a single amplicon in all of the 30 investigated Brassicaceae taxa. Sequence analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction with a subset of these markers on different levels of phylogenetic divergence in the mustard family were compared with previous studies. The results corroborate the usefulness of the newly developed primer pairs, e.g., for phylogenetic analyses or population genetic studies. Thus, our method provides a cost-effective approach for designing nuclear loci across a broad range of taxa and is compatible with current NGS technologies.