Penstemon Mitchell (Plantaginaceae) is one of the largest, most diverse plant genera in North America. Their unique diversity, paired with their drought-tolerance and overall hardiness, give Penstemon a vast amount of potential in the landscaping industry—especially in the more arid western United States where they naturally thrive. In order to develop Penstemon lines for more widespread commercial and private landscaping use, we must improve our understanding of the vast genetic diversity of the genus on a molecular level. In this study we utilize genome reduction and barcoding to optimize 454-pyrosequencing in four target species of Penstemon (P. cyananthus, P. davidsonii, P. dissectus and P. fruticosus). Sequencing and assembly produced contigs representing an average of 0.5% of the Penstemon species. From the sequence, SNP information and microsatellite markers were extracted. One hundred and thirty-three interspecific microsatellite markers were discovered, of which 50 met desired primer parameters, and were of high quality with readable bands on 3% Metaphor gels. Of the microsatellite markers, 82% were polymorphic with an average heterozygosity value of 0.51. An average of one SNP in 2,890 bp per species was found within the individual species assemblies and one SNP in 97 bp were found between any two supposed homologous sequences of the four species. An average of 21.5% of the assembled contigs were associated with putative genes involved in cellular components, biological processes, and molecular functions. On average 19.7% of the assembled contigs were identified as repetitive elements of which LTRs, DNA transposons and other unclassified repeats, were discovered. Our study demonstrates the effectiveness of using the GR-RSC technique to selectively reduce the genome size to putative homologous sequence in different species of Penstemon. It has also enabled us the ability to gain greater insights into microsatellite, SNP, putative gene and repetitive element content in the Penstemon genome which provide essential tools for further genetic work including plant breeding and phylogenetics.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



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Penstemon, genome reduction, pyrosequencing, repetitive elements, gene ontology