FISH applications for genomics and plant breeding strategies in tomato and other Solanaceous crops

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This paper describes the use of advanced fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technologies for genomics and breeding of tomato and related Solanum species. The first part deals with the major determinants of FISH technology: (1) spatial resolution, which depends on the diffraction limit of the microscope and the type of chromosome, chromatin or isolated DNA fibres as target for the hybridisation; (2) the detection sensitivity, which is limited by the sensitivity and dynamic range of the CCD camera and the quality of the microscope, and the amplification system of the weak signals from tiny probe molecules; (3) simultaneous detection of multiple probes labelled directly or indirectly with up to 5 different fluorophores, whether or not in different combinations and/or mixed at different ratios. The power and usability of such multicolour FISH is indispensable when large numbers of bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) or other vectors with genomic DNA are available. Mapping of multiple BACs on chromosomes are powerful instruments confirming their assumed genetic position, whereas pooled BACs for a given chromosome arm will reveal the gaps between the BACs or derived contigs of their physical maps. Tandem and dispersed repeats, which are abundant in the genomes of most species, can be analysed in repeat bar coding FISH, showing the major blocks of repeats in heterochromatin and euchromatin areas. Repeat-rich areas of the chromosomes can also be demonstrated by hybridisation of probed Cot fractions of sheared genomic DNA; a powerful method to elucidate the heterochromatin domains for genomic studies. In addition, unlabelled Cot DNA, as blocking agent in BAC-FISH painting, suppresses repetitive sequences from the BACs to hybridise on the chromosomes. Cross-species BAC-FISH painting with labelled probes from tomato and potato BACs and hybridised on the chromosomes of related species, under appropriate conditions, is a powerful instrument to demonstrate chromosomal rearrangements, including inversions and translocations. The technology not only supports phylogenetic studies between the taxa under study but can also be helpful in breeding programs with crops containing introgressed regions from related species when linkage drag or meiotic pairing disturbances between the homoeologues are assumed. In the next steps in comparative genomics, we now can detect smaller chromosomal and DNA rearrangements, diminutions and amplifications of repeats and changes of the epigenetic status of introgressed regions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-210
JournalCytogenetic and Genome Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • in-situ hybridization
  • high-resolution fish
  • extended dna fibers
  • lycopersicon-esculentum
  • recombination nodules
  • heterochromatic genes
  • chromosome identification
  • synaptonemal complexes
  • pachytene chromosomes
  • sequence-analysis

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