Genomic organization of MADS-box genes
--Achim Fischer, Nikolai Baum, Heinz Saedler and Günter Theissen

We have developed a linker PCR procedure for preparing repetitive DNA-free probes from genomic clones, which is especially efficient for members of gene families. Using this procedure as well as standard methods to prepare hybridization probes, chromosomal map positions of MADS-box genes were determined in recombinant inbred lines. It appeared that MADS-box genes are strongly dispersed throughout the maize genome. While there is evidence that this genomic distribution is representative for plant MADS-box genes in general, the following two other observations seem to be Zea specific. First, at least one subfamily of MADS-box genes contains line specific gene versions, which are present in some maize lines at certain chromosomal positions, but are absent there in other lines. The members of that subfamily resemble transposable elements in many aspects. Second, the duplicate character of the maize genome, as established with different marker systems, is also revealed by the finding of pairs of highly related MADS-box genes which are accompanied by other duplicated markers. These findings have far-reaching implications for an understanding of the genomic organization of MADS-box genes and the evolution of the MADS-box gene family.
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