Discovery of nucleotide polymorphisms in the Musa gene pool by Ecotilling

Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Nov;121(7):1381-9. doi: 10.1007/s00122-010-1395-5. Epub 2010 Jun 30.


Musa (banana and plantain) is an important genus for the global export market and in local markets where it provides staple food for approximately 400 million people. Hybridization and polyploidization of several (sub)species, combined with vegetative propagation and human selection have produced a complex genetic history. We describe the application of the Ecotilling method for the discovery and characterization of nucleotide polymorphisms in diploid and polyploid accessions of Musa. We discovered over 800 novel alleles in 80 accessions. Sequencing and band evaluation shows Ecotilling to be a robust and accurate platform for the discovery of polymorphisms in homologous and homeologous gene targets. In the process of validating the method, we identified two single nucleotide polymorphisms that may be deleterious for the function of a gene putatively important for phototropism. Evaluation of heterozygous polymorphism and haplotype blocks revealed a high level of nucleotide diversity in Musa accessions. We further applied a strategy for the simultaneous discovery of heterozygous and homozygous polymorphisms in diploid accessions to rapidly evaluate nucleotide diversity in accessions of the same genome type. This strategy can be used to develop hypotheses for inheritance patterns of nucleotide polymorphisms within and between genome types. We conclude that Ecotilling is suitable for diversity studies in Musa, that it can be considered for functional genomics studies and as tool in selecting germplasm for traditional and mutation breeding approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Breeding
  • Diploidy
  • Gene Pool
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Musa / genetics*
  • Phototropism / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Polyploidy