Tandem repeats (microsatellites or SSRs) are molecular markers with great potential for plant genetic studies. Modern strategies include the transfer of these markers among widely studied and orphan species. In silico analyses allow for studying distribution patterns of microsatellites and predicting which motifs would be more amenable to interspecies transfer. Transcribed sequences (Unigene) from ten species of three plant families were surveyed for the occurrence of micro and minisatellites. Transcripts from different species displayed different rates of tandem repeat occurrence, ranging from 1.47% to 11.28%. Both similar and different patterns were found within and among plant families. The results also indicate a lack of association between genome size and tandem repeat fractions in expressed regions. The conservation of motifs among species and its implication on genome evolution and dynamics are discussed.
Keywords: EST; SSR; comparative genomics; molecular markers.