Nuclear DNA-based markers for plant evolutionary biology

Mol Ecol. 1997 Feb;6(2):113-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-294x.1997.00153.x.


While DNA-based markers can provide a wealth of information for the study of plant evolutionary biology, progress is limited by the lack of primers available for PCR. To overcome this limitation, we outline a protocol for developing oligonucleotide primers targeting regions of low copy-number nuclear genes. This protocol is intended to lead to universally useful primer sets. To test our approach, we designed eight primer sets and tested their abilities to amplify targets from representatives of each dicot and one monocot subclass. Five of the eight primer sets amplified targets from at least five of the seven taxa and thus exhibited broad taxonomic usefulness; the remaining primers were rather specific, however, and amplified targets from at most three taxa. In only one primer-taxon combination was a complex multiple-banded amplification produced. Overall, the protocol outlined proved quite useful at identifying broadly applicable primers targeted to low copy-number nuclear genes. Wider application of this approach should be effective at greatly increasing the amount of genetic information available for a diversity of plant nuclear genomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cell Nucleus
  • DNA Primers*
  • DNA, Plant*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Plant
  • Genetic Markers