One hundred and twenty four microsatellites were isolated from analysis of 5000 Vitis expressed sequence tags (ESTs). A diversity of dinucleotide and trinucleotide simple sequence repeat (SSR) motifs were present. Primers were designed for 16 of these SSRs and they were tested on seven accessions. Ten of the sixteen primer pairs resulted in PCR products of the expected size. All ten functional primers were polymorphic across the accessions studied. Polymorphisms were evident at the level of cultivars, Vitis species, and between related genera. SSRs that were from the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) were most polymorphic at the cultivar level, the 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR) SSRs were most polymorphic between cultivars and species, and those SSRs within coding sequence were most polymorphic between species and genera. These results show that EST-derived SSRs in Vitis are useful as they are polymorphic and highly transferable. With EST SSRs being applicable to studies at several taxonomic levels, the large number of SSRs (approximately 1000) that will be available from an expanded EST database of 45 000 will have many potential applications in mapping and identity research.
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