Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rapidly evolving sex-specific sequences in Calamus travancoricus Bedd. ex. Becc. and Calamus nagbettai R.R.Fernald & Dey

Gene sequences mediating sexual reproduction are more divergent within and between closely related species. Microsatellite or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are valuable molecular tools for analysis of genetic variability, phylogeny, and also for identifying sex at seedling stage in dioecious plant species. Calamus travancoricus Bedd. ex. Becc. and Calamus nagbettai R.R.Fernald & Dey are economically important rattan species. The dioecious nature of the Calamus spp. limits its breeding and cultivation. The sex of rattans can only be identified after attaining reproductive maturity which ranges from 5 to 15 years. A study was carried out in this background and 9 putative sex-specific PCR products were identified as sex markers for Ctravancoricus and Cnagbettai and sequenced by Sanger method. The sequence homology search revealed occurrence of identical sequences in many plant species across different families indicating the conserved nature of the sequences. However, these sequences were not present in opposite sex in the studied species, indicating divergent evolution favoring sex determination. Annotation of these sequences revealed that most of these are mediating sexual reproduction by and large. An adequate sex ratio is to be maintained for these dioecious palms in natural habitat for producing offsprings having equal gene complements for continual evolution and sustainable utilization. Developing scientific management strategies and improved utilization of canes could help to generate employment locally and thus contribute to the socioeconomics sustainably.

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