Background and aims: Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are one of the major fruit crops worldwide with acknowledged importance as a staple food for millions of people. The rich genetic diversity of this crop is, however, endangered by diseases, adverse environmental conditions and changed farming practices, and the need for its characterization and preservation is urgent. With the aim of providing a simple and robust approach for molecular characterization of Musa species, we developed an optimized genotyping platform using 19 published simple sequence repeat markers.
Methodology: The genotyping system is based on 19 microsatellite loci, which are scored using fluorescently labelled primers and high-throughput capillary electrophoresis separation with high resolution. This genotyping platform was tested and optimized on a set of 70 diploid and 38 triploid banana accessions.
Principal results: The marker set used in this study provided enough polymorphism to discriminate between individual species, subspecies and subgroups of all accessions of Musa. Likewise, the capability of identifying duplicate samples was confirmed. Based on the results of a blind test, the genotyping system was confirmed to be suitable for characterization of unknown accessions.
Conclusions: Here we report on the first complex and standardized platform for molecular characterization of Musa germplasm that is ready to use for the wider Musa research and breeding community. We believe that this genotyping system offers a versatile tool that can accommodate all possible requirements for characterizing Musa diversity, and is economical for samples ranging from one to many accessions.