, 214:154 | Cite as

A new DNA marker for sex identification in purple asparagus

  • Mai Mitoma
  • Lei Zhang
  • Itaru Konno
  • Shunpei Imai
  • Satoru Motoki
  • Akira KannoEmail author


Garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) is an economically-important perennial crop. This plant is dioecious, as there are both male and female individuals; male individuals are preferred over females for agricultural production. To reduce the time required for garden asparagus breeding, various male-specific DNA markers are utilized. Male-specific DNA markers, such as Asp1-T7sp and MSSTS710, are currently available for sex identification in many asparagus cultivars. In the current study, we found that these markers are not suitable for sex identification in the purple asparagus cultivar ‘Pacific Purple’, as male-specific amplification of this marker was detected in some male individuals of this cultivar but not in other males. The Asp1-T7sp marker is suitable for use in sex identification in various Asparagus species related to A. officinalis, indicating that the region around this marker is conserved among these species. Thus, we isolated a DNA fragment around this marker by inverse PCR and produced a new DNA marker, MspHd, based on this sequence. However, like Asp1-T7sp and MSSTS710, MspHd was not suitable for sex identification in the cultivar ‘Pacific Purple’. Since all ‘Pacific Purple’ males have morphologically similar male flowers with functional stamens, we produced a new male-specific marker based on the sex determination gene, MSE1/AspMYB35/AspTDF1, which is responsible for stamen development. This marker, named AspMSD, is suitable for sex identification in ‘Pacific Purple’. In addition, this marker can be utilized for sex identification in various asparagus cultivars and some related Asparagus species.


Male-specific marker Sex determination gene MSE1/AoMYB35/AspTDF1 ‘Pacific Purple’ Asparagus species Dioecious 



We thank Ms. Yoko Kakimoto for her help with asparagus cultivation. This work was supported in part by the Matsushima Horticultural Development Foundation (Japan) and a Grant-in-Aid for Science and Technology Research Promotion Program for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food Industry (No. 27002B) from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) (Japan).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mai Mitoma
    • 1
  • Lei Zhang
    • 1
  • Itaru Konno
    • 1
  • Shunpei Imai
    • 2
  • Satoru Motoki
    • 3
  • Akira Kanno
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of AgricultureMeiji UniversityKawasakiJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of AgricultureMeiji UniversityKawasakiJapan

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