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Mutator-Based Transposon Display: A Genetic Tool for Evolutionary and Crop-Improvement Studies in Maize

Ramekar, Rahul Vasudeo, Park, Kyong-Cheul, Sa, Kyu Jin, Lee, Ju Kyong
Molecular biotechnology 2018 v.60 no.11 pp. 799-809
DNA, Zea, corn, evolution, genetic variation, genome, genotyping, inbred lines, transposons, wild relatives
Transposable elements account for up to 85% of the maize genome and have significant implications in crop-improvement and evolutionary analyses. The Mutator (Mu) transposon superfamily, a class of DNA transposons, comprises the most complex and active elements in the maize genome, suggesting a special role in plant evolution. Here, we designed a set of Mu-specific primers based on terminal invert repeats and used a transposon display (TD) method for genotyping. We analyzed the distribution pattern of Mu insertions in teosinte (wild relative), sorghum (distant relative), and domesticated maize accessions (dent, sweet, and waxy). The MU-TD analysis suggested the presence of high polymorphic insertions among the species and subspecies, indicating the utility of the method in studying genetic variation and species relationships. Furthermore, we analyzed 80 maize recombinant inbred line populations. Mu-TD generated an average of 60% Mu-anchored polymorphic fragments in which insertions appeared to be segregating in significantly high numbers. The amplification profile was highly reproducible, confirming the utility of Mu elements as a new set of TD markers for developing high-density genetic maps.