Short Communication: An apospory-specific genomic region is conserved between Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) and Pennisetum squamulatum Fresen

Plant J. 1999 Jul;19(2):203-208. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00514.x.


Twelve molecular markers linked to pseudogamous apospory, a form of gametophytic apomixis, were previously isolated from Pennisetum squamulatum Fresen. No recombination between these markers was found in a segregating population of 397 individuals (Ozias-Akins et al. 1998, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 95, 5127-5132). The objective of the present study was to test if these markers were also linked to the aposporous mode of reproduction in two small segregating populations of Cenchrus ciliaris (= Pennisetum ciliare (L.)Link), another apomictic grass species. Among 12 markers (sequence characterized amplified regions, SCARs), six were scored as dominant markers between aposporous and sexual C. ciliaris genotypes (presence/absence, respectively). Five were always linked to apospory and one showed a low level of recombination in 84 progenies. Restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) were observed between sexual and apomictic phenotypes for three of the six remaining SCARs from P. squamulatum when used as probes. No recombination was observed in the F1 progenies. Preliminary data from megabase DNA analysis and sequencing in both species indicate that an apospory-specific genomic region (ASGR) is highly conserved between the two species. Although C. ciliaris has a smaller genome size to P. squamulatum, a higher copy number for markers linked to apospory found in the former may impair the progress of positional cloning of gene(s) for apomixis in this species.