The reliability of genome analysis and proficiency of genetic manipulation are increased by assignment of linkage groups to specific chromosomes, placement of centromeres, and orientation with respect to telomeres. We have endeavored to establish means to enable these steps in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench), the genome of which contains ca. 780 Mbp spread across n = 10 chromosomes. Our approach relies on fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and integrated structural genomic resources, including large-insert genomic clones in bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries. To develop robust FISH probes, we selected sorghum BACs by association with molecular markers that map near the ends of linkage groups, in regions inferred to be high in recombination. Overall, we selected 22 BACs that encompass the 10 linkage groups. As a prelude to development of a multiprobe FISH cocktail, we evaluated BAC-derived probes individually and in small groups. Biotin- and digoxygenin-labeled probes were made directly from the BAC clones and hybridized in situ to chromosomes without using suppressive unlabelled C0t-1 DNA. Based on FISH-signal strength and the relative degree of background signal, we judged 19 BAC-derived probes to be satisfactory. Based on their relative position, and collective association with all 10 linkage groups, we chose 17 of the 19 BACs to develop a 17-locus probe cocktail for dual-color detection. FISH of the cocktail allowed simultaneous identification of all 10 chromosomes. The results indicate that linkage and physical maps of sorghum allow facile selection of BAC clones according to position and FISH-signal quality. This capability will enable development of a high-quality molecular cytogenetic map and an integrated genomics system for sorghum, without need of chromosome flow sorting or microdissection. Moreover, transgeneric FISH experiments suggest that the sorghum system might be applicable to other Gramineae.
- Integrated karyotyping