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Biochemical and molecular markers for investigating the mode of reproduction in the facultative apomict Poa pratensis L.


Isozymes and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were used for precocious identification of non-maternal plants in progenies of the facultative apomict Poa pratensis. Four progenies obtained from controlled crosses that showed different degrees of apomixis on isozyme analysis of phospho-gluco-isomerases, esterases and peroxidases were chosen for RAPD analysis to generate genomic fingerprints using species-specific primers. At an advanced vegetative stage, a morphological analysis was also performed and characteristics related to growth habit and leaf morphology were observed and recorded. On the basis of the isozyme and RAPD electrophoretic pattern and the morphological appearance, each plant was classified as maternal or aberrant. All three classes of genetic markers employed were able to identify plants that exhibited aberrant traits in the four progenies. Overall, the results of RAPD analysis supported those of isozyme and morphology studies. However, in each progeny, some plants which both isozyme and morphological analyses distinguished as of maternal origin were aberrant according to RAPD analysis. Therefore, the RAPD method proved the most precise screening technique. The greater cost of the molecular approach was offset by its higher accuracy. The use of either three isozyme systems or six primers for PCR amplification seems to be sufficient for reliable estimation of the degree of apomixis. Histological analyses were carried out and the aposporic development of the plant material studied.

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Mazzucato, A., Barcaccia, G., Pezzotti, M. et al. Biochemical and molecular markers for investigating the mode of reproduction in the facultative apomict Poa pratensis L.. Sexual Plant Reprod 8, 133–138 (1995).

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Key words

  • Apomixis
  • Apospory
  • Isozymes Poa pratensis
  • RAPDs