Omics : a journal of integrative biology

E-microsatellite markers for Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) genome: validation and cross-transferability in Apiaceae family for plant omics research and development.

PMID 25562200


Abstract Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) is a plant that grows in tropical swampy regions of the world and has important medicinal and culinary use. It is often considered as part of Ayurvedic medicine, traditional African medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine. The unavailability of genomics resources is significantly impeding its genetic improvement. To date, no attempt has been made to develop Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) derived Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers (eSSRs) from the Centella genome. Hence, the present study aimed to develop eSSRs and their further experimental validation and cross-transferability of these markers in different genera of the Apiaceae family to which Centella belongs. An in-house pipeline was developed for the entire analyses by combining bioinformatics tools and perl scripts. A total of 4443 C. asiatica EST sequences from dbEST were processed, which generated 2617 nonredundant high quality EST sequences consisting 441 contigs and 2176 singletons. Out of 1776.5 kb of examined sequences, 417 (15.9%) ESTs containing 686 SSRs were detected with a density of one SSR per 2.59 kb. The gene ontology study revealed 282 functional domains involved in various processes, components, and functions, out of which 64 ESTs were found to have both SSRs and functional domains. Out of 603 designed EST-SSR primers, 18 pairs of primers were selected for validation based on the optimum parameter value. Reproducible amplification was obtained for six primer pairs in C. asiatica that were further tested for cross-transferability in nine other important genera/species of the Apiaceae family. Cross-transferability of the EST-SSR markers among the species were examined and Centella javanica showed highest transferability (83.3%). The study revealed six highly polymorphic EST-SSR primers with an average PIC value of 0.95. In conclusion, these EST-SSR markers hold a big promise for the genomics analysis of Centella asiatica, to facilitate comparative map-based analyses across other related species within the Apiaceae family, and future marker-assisted breeding programs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of development of EST-SSRs in Centella asiatica by in silico approaches, which offers a veritable potential in further use in plant omics research and development.