Variation of cytosine methylation in 57 sweet orange cultivars

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Sweet orange is an important group of citrus cultivars, which includes a number of bud sport cultivars. Little is known about the CpG methylation status of the CCGG sequences in the orange genome. In this study, methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP), based on the application of isoschizomers (Hpa II and Msp I), was first used to analyze cytosine methylation patterns in 57 orange cultivars that were not fully differentiated by regular DNA molecular markers. Three types of bands were generated from ten primer pairs. Type I bands were present following restriction with Eco RI + Hpa II and Eco RI + Msp I; type II or type III were present only following restriction with either Eco RI + Hpa II or with Eco RI + Msp I. The total number of these three types of bands was 802, 72, and 157, respectively. Among these, the number of polymorphic bands were 244 (30.2%), 23 (31.9%), and 32 (20.4%), in type I, II and III, respectively. The methylation patterns of these 57 cultivars are discussed and assessed by dendrograms derived from the analysis of polymorphic MSAP bands. The distribution of polymorphic bands of the above three types demonstrate the methylation patterns and frequency at the cytosine loci. We suggest that methylation events could be more frequent than demethylation events, and that the methylation patterns maybe associated with phenotypic traits.

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