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PCR identification of durum wheat BAC clones containing genes coding for carotenoid biosynthesis enzymes and their chromosome localization

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Carotenoids are essential components in all plants. Their accumulation in wheat seed determines the endosperm colour, which is an important quality trait in wheat. In this study, we report the isolation of BAC clones containing genes coding for three different enzymes of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway: phytoene synthase (PSY), phytoene desaturase (PDS), and zeta-carotene desaturase (ZDS). Primers were designed on the basis of wheat ESTs similar to the sequences of these three genes in other species, and used to screen a BAC library from Triticum turgidum var. durum (2n = 28, genomes AABB). Eight, six, and nine 384-well plates containing at least one positive clone were found for PSY, PDS, and ZDS, respectively. BACs selected for each of these genes were then divided in two groups corresponding to the A and B genomes of tetraploid wheat, based on differences in the length of the PCR amplification products, conformation-sensitive gel electrophoresis (CSGE), or cleavage amplification polymorphisms. Positive clones were then assigned to chromosomes using a set of D genome substitution lines in T. turgidum var. durum 'Langdon'. PSY clones were localized on chromosomes 5A and 5B, PDS on chromosomes 4A and 4B, and ZDS on chromosomes 2A and 2B. The strategies used for the PCR screening of large BAC libraries and for the differentiation of BAC clones from different genomes in a polyploid species are discussed.

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