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Analysis of DNA polymorphism in ancient barley herbarium material: Validation of the KASP SNP genotyping platform

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The availability of crop specimens archived in herbaria and old seed collections represent valuable resources for the analysis of plant genetic diversity and crop domestication. The ability to extract ancient DNA (aDNA) from such samples has recently allowed molecular genetic investigations to be undertaken in ancient materials. While analyses of aDNA initially focused on the use of markers which occur in multiple copies such as the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) within ribosomal DNA and those requiring amplification of short DNA regions of variable length such as simple sequence repeats (SSRs), emphasis is now moving towards the genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), traditionally undertaken in aDNA by Sanger sequencing. Here, using a panel of barley aDNA samples previously surveyed by Sanger sequencing for putative causative SNPs within the flowering-time gene PPD-H1, we assess the utility of the Kompetitive Allele Specific PCR (KASP) genotyping platform for aDNA analysis. We find KASP to out-perform Sanger sequencing in the genotyping of aDNA samples (78% versus 61% success, respectively), as well as being robust to contamination. The small template size (≥46 bp) and one-step, closed-tube amplification/genotyping process make this platform ideally suited to the genotypic analysis of aDNA, a process which is often hampered by template DNA degradation and sample cross-contamination. Such attributes, as well as its flexibility of use and relatively low cost, make KASP particularly relevant to the genetic analysis of aDNA samples. Furthermore, KASP provides a common platform for the genotyping and analysis of corresponding SNPs in ancient, landrace and modern plant materials. The extended haplotype analysis of PPD-H1 undertaken here (allelic variation at which is thought to be important for the spread of domestication and local adaptation) provides further resolution to the previously identified geographic cline of flowering-time allele distribution, illustrating how KASP can be used to aid genetic analyses of aDNA from plant species. We further demonstrate the utility of KASP by genotyping ten additional genetic markers diagnostic for morphological traits in barley, shedding light on the phenotypic traits, alleles and allele combinations present in these unviable ancient specimens, as well as their geographic distributions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3ER, U.K. 2: John Bingham Building, National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Huntington Road, Cambridge, CB3 0LE, U.K.

Publication date: 2013-08-21

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