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Analysis of radiation-induced genome alterations in Vigna unguiculata

Authors van der Vyver C, Vorster, Kunert, Cullis C

Published 1 September 2011 Volume 2011:2 Pages 89—99


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Christell van der Vyver1, B Juan Vorster2, Karl J Kunert3, Christopher A Cullis4
1Institute for Plant Biotechnology, Department of Genetics, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa; 2Department of Plant Production and Soil Science, and 3Department of Plant Science, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; 4Case Western Reserve University, Department of Biology, Cleveland, OH, USA

Abstract: Seeds from an inbred Vigna unguiculata (cowpea) cultivar were gamma-irradiated with a dose of 180 Gy in order to identify and characterize possible mutations. Three techniques, ie, random amplified polymorphic DNA, microsatellites, and representational difference analysis, were used to characterize possible DNA variation among the mutants and nonirradiated control plants both immediately after irradiation and in subsequent generations. A large portion of putative radiation-induced genome changes had significant similarities to chloroplast sequences. The frequency of mutation at three of these isolated polymorphic regions with chloroplast similarity was further determined by polymerase chain reaction screening using a large number of individual parental, M1, and M2 plants. Analysis of these sequences indicated that the rate at which various regions of the genome is mutated in irradiation experiments differs significantly and also that mutations have variable “repair” rates. Furthermore, regions of the nuclear DNA derived from the chloroplast genome are highly susceptible to modification by radiation treatment. Overall, data have provided detailed information on the effects of gamma irradiation on the cowpea genome and about the ability of the plant to repair these genome changes in subsequent plant generations.

Keywords: mutation breeding, gamma radiation, genetic mutations, cowpea, representational difference analysis

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