• foxtail millet (Setaria italica L.);
  • microsatellite;
  • SSRs;
  • molecular markers;
  • transferability;
  • genetic diversity


Although the foxtail millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.] is recently regarded as a model crop for studying functional genomics of biofuel grasses, its genetic improvement to some extent was limited due to the non-availability of molecular markers, particularly the microsatellite markers and the saturated genetic linkage map. Considering this, we attempted to generate a significant number of microsatellite markers in cultivar ‘Prasad’. Two hundred and fifty-six clones were sequenced to generate 41.82-kb high-quality sequences retrieved from genomic library enriched with dinucleotide repeat motifs. Microsatellites were identified in 194 (76%) of the 256 positive clones, and 64 primer pairs (pp) were successfully designed from 95 (49%) unique SSR-containing clones. The 67.4% primer designing ability, 100% PCR amplification efficiency and 45.3% polymorphic potential in the parents of F2 mapping population established the efficacy of genomic microsatellites. All the 64 microsatellite markers displayed high level of cross-species amplification (~67%) in 10 millets and non-millets species. These experimental findings suggest the utility and efficacy of SSRs in diverse genotyping applications, resolving QTLs, phylogenetic relationships and transferability in several important grass species.