Analysis of SCAR marker nucleotide sequences in maize (Zea mays L.) somaclones

E. S. Osipova, E. A. Lysenko, A. V. Troitsky, Yu I. Dolgikh, Z. B. Shamina, S. A. Gostimskii

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8 Citations (Scopus)


SCAR (sequence characterized amplified region) markers allow the reliable identification of unique somaclonal variations. Six SCAR markers were developed previously and were thought to be exclusively characteristic of eight maize somaclones. However, we detected two of these markers in maize lines and a cultivar unrelated to the progenitor line of the somaclones. Therefore, we sequenced these markers and performed bioinformatic searches to understand the molecular events that may underlie the variability observed in the somaclones. All changes were found in noncoding sequences and were induced by different molecular events, such as the insertion of long terminal repeat (LTR) transposon(s), precise miniature inverted repeat transposable element (MITE) excision, microdeletion, recombination, and a change in the pool of mitochondrial DNA. For example, the SCAR marker QR is represented by the two variants QR-A and QR-2. The sequences of the two variants were similar, except for a 457-bp fragment found only in QR-A; this region was denoted as Q. Region Q was flanked by the direct 3-bp repeat 5′-TAA-3′ (target site duplication; TSD) and the inverted 14-bp repeat 5′-GGGCCTGTTTGGAA-3′ (terminal inverted repeats; TIRs). These features confer the Q region with similarity to the nonautonomic Tourist-like MITE. In two groups of independently produced somaclones, the same features (morphological, molecular) were variable, which confirms the theory of 'hot spots' occurring in the genome. The distribution of one of the SCAR markers was confirmed using Southern blot hybridization. The presence of the same molecular markers in the somaclones and in different non-somaclonal maize variants suggests that in some cases, the same mechanisms determine both in vitro and in vivo variability and that cell culture enhances the rate of heritable genomic changes that naturally occur in living organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-322
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Hot spots
  • SCAR
  • Somaclonal variation
  • Transposon
  • Zea mays L.


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