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Open Access Methodology article

A high-throughput strategy for screening of bacterial artificial chromosome libraries and anchoring of clones on a genetic map constructed with single nucleotide polymorphisms

Ming-Cheng Luo1, Kenong Xu1, Yaqin Ma1, Karin R Deal1, Charles M Nicolet2 and Jan Dvorak1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA

2 Genome Center, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA

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BMC Genomics 2009, 10:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-28

Published: 18 January 2009



Current techniques of screening bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries for molecular markers during the construction of physical maps are slow, laborious and often assign multiple BAC contigs to a single locus on a genetic map. These limitations are the principal impediment in the construction of physical maps of large eukaryotic genomes. It is hypothesized that this impediment can be overcome by screening multidimensional pools of BAC clones using the highly parallel Illumina GoldenGateā„¢ assay.


To test the efficacy of the Golden Gate assay in BAC library screening, multidimensional pools involving 302976 Aegilops tauschii BAC clones were genotyped for the presence/absence of specific gene sequences with multiplexed Illumina GoldenGate oligonucleotide assays previously used to place single nucleotide polymorphisms on an Ae. tauschii genetic map. Of 1384 allele-informative oligonucleotide assays, 87.6% successfully clustered BAC pools into those positive for a BAC clone harboring a specific gene locus and those negative for it. The location of the positive BAC clones within contigs assembled from 199190 fingerprinted Ae. tauschii BAC clones was used to evaluate the precision of anchoring of BAC clones and contigs on the Ae. tauschii genetic map. For 41 (95%) assays, positive BAC clones were neighbors in single contigs. Those contigs could be unequivocally assigned to loci on the genetic map. For two (5%) assays, positive clones were in two different contigs and the relationships of these contigs to loci on the Ae. tauschii genetic map were equivocal. Screening of BAC libraries with a simple five-dimensional BAC pooling strategy was evaluated and shown to allow direct detection of positive BAC clones without the need for manual deconvolution of BAC clone pools.


The highly parallel Illumina oligonucleotide assay is shown here to be an efficient tool for screening BAC libraries and a strategy for high-throughput anchoring of BAC contigs on genetic maps during the construction of physical maps of eukaryotic genomes. In most cases, screening of BAC libraries with Illumina oligonucleotide assays results in the unequivocal relationship of BAC clones with loci on the genetic map.