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Open Access Research article

Generation of a BAC-based physical map of the melon genome

Víctor M González1, Jordi Garcia-Mas2, Pere Arús2 and Pere Puigdomènech1*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Genetics Department, Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics CRAG (CSIC-IRTA-UAB), Jordi Girona, 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain

2 Plant Genetics Department, IRTA, Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics CRAG (CSIC-IRTA-UAB), Carretera de Cabrils Km 2, 08348 Barcelona, Spain

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:339  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-339

Published: 28 May 2010

Abstract

Background

Cucumis melo (melon) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, whose economic importance among horticulture crops is second only to Solanaceae. Melon has high intra-specific genetic variation, morphologic diversity and a small genome size (450 Mb), which make this species suitable for a great variety of molecular and genetic studies that can lead to the development of tools for breeding varieties of the species. A number of genetic and genomic resources have already been developed, such as several genetic maps and BAC genomic libraries. These tools are essential for the construction of a physical map, a valuable resource for map-based cloning, comparative genomics and assembly of whole genome sequencing data. However, no physical map of any Cucurbitaceae has yet been developed. A project has recently been started to sequence the complete melon genome following a whole-genome shotgun strategy, which makes use of massive sequencing data. A BAC-based melon physical map will be a useful tool to help assemble and refine the draft genome data that is being produced.

Results

A melon physical map was constructed using a 5.7 × BAC library and a genetic map previously developed in our laboratories. High-information-content fingerprinting (HICF) was carried out on 23,040 BAC clones, digesting with five restriction enzymes and SNaPshot labeling, followed by contig assembly with FPC software. The physical map has 1,355 contigs and 441 singletons, with an estimated physical length of 407 Mb (0.9 × coverage of the genome) and the longest contig being 3.2 Mb. The anchoring of 845 BAC clones to 178 genetic markers (100 RFLPs, 76 SNPs and 2 SSRs) also allowed the genetic positioning of 183 physical map contigs/singletons, representing 55 Mb (12%) of the melon genome, to individual chromosomal loci. The melon FPC database is available for download at http://melonomics.upv.es/static/files/public/physical_map/ webcite.

Conclusions

Here we report the construction of the first physical map of a Cucurbitaceae species described so far. The physical map was integrated with the genetic map so that a number of physical contigs, representing 12% of the melon genome, could be anchored to known genetic positions. The data presented is already helping to improve the quality of the melon genomic sequence available as a result of a project currently being carried out in Spain, adopting a whole genome shotgun approach based on 454 sequencing data.