Two sex-linked fragments were identified by RAPD analyses in the dioecious diploid shrub Aucuba japonica var. ovoidea and were converted into markers of male-specific sequence characterized amplified region (SCAR) markers. PCRs using the primers designed in this study correctly discriminated 24 flowering males and 24 flowering females at higher annealing temperatures (SCAR markers OPA10-424 at 55 °C and OPN11-1095 at 65 °C), although at relatively low annealing temperatures, the fragments were amplified in both males and females. These SCAR primers were also tested to see whether they were applicable to sex identification in the conspecific tetraploid Aucuba japonica var. japonica. One set pf SCAR primers could be used for sex identification even in this tetraploid variety, although the other failed. The SCAR markers developed in this study will provide a powerful tool in identifying the sex of immature plants of dioecious A. japonica, which is a commercially valuable shrub due to its conspicuous fruits.
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