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Microsatellite can help reduce plant research costs

A new microsatellite resource helps in keeping plant research costs down.

Too often, scientific breakthroughs are held back due to lack of funding. Genetic research, in particular, can quickly become costly when dealing with specific genome analysis.

A team of scientists from the University of Florida led by Richard Hodel set out to make genetic research easier and more affordable. Through two pieces published in Applications in Plant Sciences, they have laid out guidelines for using microsatellites for research projects on a wide variety of plant species. In addition, they offer a resource of over five million microsatellites.

Microsatellites are genetic markers that are unique in their ability to be used for many different kinds of genetic research. They can be tested for the presence of a particular gene, used to discover the relationship between individual cases versus the full population, as well as to track and create genome maps.

Hodel remarks, “Often, an initial barrier to starting a project is securing funding to develop genetic markers, if none are available for the study system of interest. Our microsatellite resource will allow researchers to search for loci that are available for a wide range of species, for free.”

Microsatellites were originally identified from sequence data found in the online database of the One Thousand Plant Transcriptomes Project (1KP). Genetic data from the 1KP database can be utilized for marker development and is what allowed the team to compile the 5 million new microsatellite resource for further research.

The resource is essentially a gift to the genetic research community and opens the door for lower-budget research projects to thrive. Hodel adds, “The goal was to give people practical guidance and to enable them to consider all of their options.”

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