The usefulness of restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) in plant breeding and genetics is discussed, with particular emphasis on tagging genes, map-based cloning, the assessment of genetic variability and distances, and comparative genome mapping.
The Department of Plant Breeding and Biometry has currently established tight linkages between RFLPs and more than 20 genes of economic importance. Approximately half of these genes confer resistance to major pathogens including nematodes, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Other genes tagged are involved in various aspects of crop quality.
Locating genes with respect to DNA markers on an RFLP map provides a starting point for cloning the genes by chromosome walking. This strategy is currently being pursued for three disease-resistance genes that have been placed on the tomato RFLP map; Pto (resistance to Pseudomonas syringae), Mi (resistance to root-knot nemotodes) and Tm2a (resistance to tobacco mosaic virus). Further discussion will include the construction of a yeast artificial chromosome library and the collection of additional DNA markers in the regions of interest through RAPD analysis of nearly isogenic lines.
The assessment of genetic variability and fingerprinting varieties based on RFLP data will be briefly discussed.
Comparative genome mapping in the family Solanaceae has allowed the relationships among tomato, potato, and pepper to be unravelled. Tomato and potato share a near perfect conservation of gene order throughout their genomes. In contrast, while pepper shares most of its single copy DNA with tomato and potato, the order of these markers is highly rearranged compared with the other two species.