AFLP markers tightly linked to the sex locus in Asparagus officinalis L.

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Nine AFLP markers linked to the sex locus in Asparagus officinalis L. have been identified by non-radioactive AFLP technique and bulked segregant analysis. A composite map of one F2 and two F1populations identified three very tightly linked markers. These markers did not give recombinants in the three different populations and mapped 0.5, 0.7 and 1 cM to the sex locus. Codominant scoring of the markers in the F2 population from a selfed andromonoecious plant could distinguish the XX, XY and YY asparagus plants. The AFLP markers were isolated from the gel and cloned into plasmid vectors. The marker E41M50, which is a low-copy sequence and did not give any recombinants in the screened populations, detected polymorphism between female and male plants when used as RFLP probe. The AFLP markers we obtained are important to plant breeding, particularly in the development of sex specific PCR primers that could be used in the screening of different asparagus plants at the seedling stage. They are likewise important in the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying sex determination and differentiation in this species.

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