African Journal of Biotechnology

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Microsatellite markers: An important fingerprinting tool for characterization of crop plants

S Ijaz


Microsatellites are simple sequence repeats (SSR) of 1-6 nucleotides. They appear to be ubiquitous in higher organisms, both in animal and plant genomes and involving repetitive as well as unique sequences, although the frequency of microsatellites varies between species. They are abundant, dispersed throughout the genome and show higher levels of polymorphism than do other genetic markers. These features coupled with their ease of detection have made them useful markers. Their potential for automation and their inheritance in a co-dominant manner are additional advantages when compared with other types of molecular markers. SSRs are highly polymorphic, genome specific, abundant and co-dominant, and have recently become important genetic markers in cereals including wheat and barley.

Key words: Simple sequence repeat, allelic diversity, polymorphism, co-dominance, microsatellites, geneticdiversity.
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