Repetitive DNA: A Versatile Tool for Karyotyping in Festuca pratensis Huds

Cytogenet Genome Res. 2017;151(2):96-105. doi: 10.1159/000462915. Epub 2017 Mar 24.


FISH is a useful method to identify individual chromosomes in a karyotype and to discover their structural changes accompanying genome evolution and speciation. DNA probes for FISH should be chromosome specific and/or exhibit specific patterns of distribution along each chromosome. Such probes are not available in many plants including meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds.), an important forage grass species. In the present study, various DNA repeats identified in Illumina shotgun sequences specific to chromosome 4F of F. pratensis were used as probes for FISH to develop the molecular karyotype of meadow fescue and to reveal a long-range molecular organization of its chromosomes. Five tandem repeats produced specific patterns on individual chromosomes. Their use in combination with probes for rRNA genes enabled the establishment of the molecular karyotype of meadow fescue. Most of the mobile genetic elements were dispersed along all the chromosomes except for the DNA transposon CACTA, which was localized preferentially to telomeric and subtelomeric regions, and a putative LTR element, which was localized to (peri)centromeric regions. Cytogenetic mapping of the 5 tandem repeats in other accessions of meadow fescue showed a highly similar distribution and confirmed the versatility and robustness of these probes.

Keywords: Fluorescence in situ hybridization; Karyotyping; Meadow fescue; Repetitive DNA; Tandem organized repeats.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Plant
  • DNA, Plant
  • Festuca / genetics*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Karyotype
  • Karyotyping / methods*
  • Phylogeny
  • Tandem Repeat Sequences*


  • DNA, Plant