Genome wide characterization of short tandem repeat markers in sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) is one of the major cultivated and most-consumed citrus species. With the goal of enhancing the genomic resources in citrus, we surveyed, developed and characterized microsatellite markers in the ≈347 Mb sequence assembly of the sweet orange genome. A total of 50,846 SSRs were identified with a frequency of 146.4 SSRs/Mbp. Dinucleotide repeats are the most frequent repeat class and the highest density of SSRs was found in chromosome 4. SSRs are non-randomly distributed in the genome and most of the SSRs (62.02%) are located in the intergenic regions. We found that AT-rich SSRs are more frequent than GC-rich SSRs. A total number of 21,248 SSR primers were successfully developed, which represents 89 SSR markers per Mb of the genome. A subset of 950 developed SSR primer pairs were synthesized and tested by wet lab experiments on a set of 16 citrus accessions. In total we identified 534 (56.21%) polymorphic SSR markers that will be useful in citrus improvement. The number of amplified alleles ranges from 2 to 12 with an average of 4 alleles per marker and an average PIC value of 0.75. The newly developed sweet orange primer sequences, their in silico PCR products, exact position in the genome assembly and putative function are made publicly available. We present the largest number of SSR markers ever developed for a citrus species. Almost two thirds of the markers are transferable to 16 citrus relatives and may be used for constructing a high density linkage map. In addition, they are valuable for marker-assisted selection studies, population structure analyses and comparative genomic studies of C. sinensis with other citrus related species. Altogether, these markers provide a significant contribution to the citrus research community.