Hexaploid triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack) is a man-made hybrid that consists of 3 genomes, A, B and R, the A- and B-genome from wheat and the R-genome from rye. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are transferable between closely related species. The aim of this study was to exploit this transferability in order to identify, evaluate and optimize a minimum SSR marker set for cultivar identification, marker assisted backcrosses, and germplasm assessment in triticale. A set of 29 express sequence tags (EST) and genomic SSR primer pairs developed in rye were used to test the genetic variability among eight triticale cultivars and two rye cultivars. Only 23 of the primer sets produced amplicons and expressed a 79.3% transferability. Fifty-ESTs and genomic SSR markers were used to analyse the wheat (A and B) genomes, and achieved an84% transferability. Following the identification and evaluation of the markers two EST R-genome SSRs were selected, and five wheat SSRs (two EST and three genomic) based on discriminatory ability, which corresponded with available pedigree information.
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