Research Article | Volume: 3, Issue: 2, March-April, 2015

Molecular studies of forage prickly-pear cactus from the semiarid of Pernambuco State-Brazil

M. C. C. P. de Lyra M. L. R. B. da Silva A. C. E. S Mergulhão C. Mondragon-Jacobo E. Martínez-Romero   

Open Access   

Published:  Apr 27, 2015

DOI: 10.7324/JABB.2015.3201

The cultivation of forage cactus is of great economic interest in Brazil, due to its then importance for nutrition animal. This crop had been studied for many years but the advent of molecular biology has greatly contributed to shed light on its phylogeny. Twenty-eight prickly pear cactus plants (Opuntia and Nopalea) - from Brazil were analyzed using the ribosomal marker ITS (internal transcribed space regions) of rRNA ribosomal gene. Three prickly pear cactus varieties are used the forage in Northeastern Brazil: var. palma gigante (Opuntia ficus-indica), var. palma redonda (Opuntia sp.), var. miúda (Nopalea cochenillifera or Opuntia cochenillifera). The DNA was extracted from leaves and the ITS1 and ITS2 regions of all plants amplified and sequenced. Results showed que the ITS marker is very efficient to investigate the species studied and examine the level of the genus cactus plants. Interestingly, the species Nopalea cochenillifera when submitted to the NCBI its designation was changed to Opuntia cochenillifera, however, the organisms continues the Nopalea cochenillifera. These plants may show high degree of apomixis, vegetative propagation, ploidy and the high inter and intra-specific hybridization capacity. Plant systematic and phylogenetic studies are based on morphological and molecular mainly characteristics. The ribosomal ITS rRNA markers 1-2 have great ability to characterize species of prickly pear cactus in this work. Additional studies with other phylogenetic markers will deepen the understanding of the phylogeny of these species.

Keyword:     Cactaceaetropical plantsNopaleaOpuntiaTaxonomyITS.


M. C. C. P. de Lyra, M. L. R. B. da Silva, A. C. E. S Mergulhão, C. Mondragon-Jacobo, E. Martínez-Romero. Molecular studies of forage prickly-pear cactus from the semiarid of Pernambuco State - Brazil. J App Biol Biotech. 2015; 3 (02): 001-005.

Copyright: Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

HTML Full Text

1. Santos DC, Farias I, Lira MA, Santos MVF, Arruda GP, Coelho RSB, Dias FM, Melo JN. Manejo e utilização da Palma Forrageira (Opuntia e Nopalea) em Pernambuco. Recife: IPA. IPA Documentos 30 [Internet]. 2006 [cited 2014 Jul 22]. Available from:

2. Mandujano MC, Montaña C, Méndez I, Golubov J. The relative contributions of sexual reproduction and propagation in Opuntia rastrera from two habitats in the Chihuahuan Desert.Journal of Ecology.1998; 86 (6):911–921.doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2745.1998.00308.x..

3. Griffith MP. A new Chihuahuan Desert prickly pear, Opuntia x rooneyi.Cactus and Succulent Journal [Internet]. 2001 [cited 2014 Aug 12];73:307-310. Available from:

4. Griffith MP. Experimental hybridization in northern Chihuahuan desert region Opuntia, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden [Internet]. 2001 [cited 2014 Sep 14]; 20: 37-42.Available from:

5. Griffith MP. Using molecular data to elucidate reticulate evolution in Opuntia.Madroño [Internet]. 2003 [cited 2014 Aug 12]; 50:162-169. Available from:

6. Benson LH. The cacti of the United States and Canada. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California: US;1982.

7. Mondragon-Jacobo C. Cactus Pear Domestication and Breeding. Plant Breeding Rev. [Internet]. 2001 [cited 2014 Sep 14]:135-165.Available from: WileyTitle/productCd-1118100492.html

8. Kiesling, R. Orígen, Domesticación y Distribución de Opuntia ficus-indica.Journal of the Professional Association for Cactus Development [Internet]. 1999 [cited 2014 Aug 12]; 3: 50-59. Available from:

9. Wang X, Felker P, BurowDM, PatersonHA. Comparison of RAPD marker patterns to morphological and physiological data in the classification of Opuntia accessions. Journal of the Professional Association for Cactus Development [Internet]. 1998 [cited 2014 Aug 12];3:3-14. Availablefrom:

10. Luna-Paez A, Valadez-Moctezuma E, Barrientos-Priego AF, Gallegos-Vázquez C. Caracterización de Opuntiaspp. mediante Semilla con marcadores RAPD e ISSR y su posible uso para diferenciación.Journal of the Professional Association for Cactus Development [Internet]. 2007 [cited 2014 Aug 12]; 9: 43-59. Available from:

11. Andersen JR,Lübberstedt T. Functional markers in plants.Trends in Plant Sciences.2003. 8: 554-560.doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2003.09.01.

12. Baldwin BG. Phylogenetic utility of the internal transcribed spacersos nuclear ribosomal DNA in plants: An Exemplefrom the composite. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution [Internet] 1992 [cited 2014 Sep 14]; 1:3-16.Available from:

13. White TJ, Bruns T, Lee S, Taylor J. Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for Phylogenetics. In: PCR protocols, a guide to methods, and, applications, eds. M.A Innis, D.H. Gelfand, J.J. Sninsky, and, T.J. White. San Diego: Academic Press. 1990.p.315-322.

14. Saitou N, Nei M. The neighbor-joining method: A new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees. Molecular Biology and Evolution [Internet].1987 [cited 2014 Sep 14];4:406-425.Available from:

15. Felsenstein J. Confidence limits on phylogenies: An approach using the bootstrap. Evolution [Internet]. 1985 [cited 2014 Jul 20];39:783-791. Available from: 2011/754/reading/felsenstein.pdf

16. Takezaki N, RzhetskyA, Nei M. Phylogenetic test of the molecular clock and linearized trees. Molecular Biology and Evolution [Internet]. 2004[cited 2014 Jul 20];12:823-833. Available from:

17. Tamura K, Nei M. Estimation of the number of nucleotide substitutions in the control region of mitochondrial DNA in humans and chimpanzees. Molecular Biology and Evolution [Internet]. 1993[cited 2014 Jul 20]; 10:512-526. Available from:

18. Tamura K, Dudley J, Nei M, Kumar S. MEGA4: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0. Molecular Biology and Evolution [Internet]. 2007[cited 2014 Jul 20];24:1596-1599.Available from:

19. Cai Y-f, Li S-w, Liu Y, Quan S, Chen S, Xie Y-f, Jiang H-z, Wei E-z, Yin N-w, Wang L, Zhang R, Huang C-l, He X-H, Jiang M-f. Molecular phylogeny of Ranunculaceae based on internal transcribed spacer sequences. African Journal of Biotechnology [Internet].2009[cited 2014Sep 20];8:5215-5224.Available from:

20. Lawton-Rauh AL, Alvarez-Buylla ER, PuruggananMD.Molecular evolution of flower development.Trends in Ecology & Evolution.200015:144-149doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(99)01816-9.

21. Scheinvar L. Taxonomy of utilized opuntias. Agro-ecology, cultivation and uses of cactus pear.BarberaG,Inglese P andPimienta-Barrios E (eds). FAO, Rome, 1995, p 20-27.

22. Pinkava DJ. On the evolution of continental North American Opuntioideae.Succulent Plant Research [Internet]. 2002 [cited 2014 Aug 12];6: 59-98. Available from:

Article Metrics
280 Views 54 Downloads 334 Total



Related Search

By author names

Similar Articles