Electrophoretic Karyotype Analysis in Fungi

J. Beadle, M. Wright, L. McNeely, J. W. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The resolution of chromosomal-sized DNAs by PFGE has many applications that include karyotyping, strain identification of similar species, characterization of transformed strains, building of linkage maps, and preparation of DNA for genomic analysis. Successful electrophoretic separation of chromosomes is an empiric process in which the initial concentration of intact chromosome-sized DNA and the optimization of electrophoretic parameters are the most important experimental variables. Nonetheless, inherent attributes of the genome architecture of certain species may thwart success. When a karyotype contains numerous chromosomes of the same size and/or many large (greater than 8 Mb) chromosomes, no amount of manipulation of the electrophoretic parameters will resolve individual chromosome bands using present technology. Further, fungi display a surprising amount of intraspecific variation in both chromosome number and size, making it difficult to establish a standard "reference" karyotype for many species. Although PFGE is not a panacea for bringing genetics to species that lack classical genetic systems, it often does provide a way for developing a molecular linkage map in the absence of a formal genetic system. It is far faster than parasexual analysis in the discovery of linkage relationships. For genomics projects, DNA can be recovered from pulsed field gels and used to prepare chromosome-specific libraries. Where whole genome sequencing strategies are used, chromosomes separated by PFGE provide an anchor for sequencing data. Electrophoretic karyotypes can be probed with anonymous pieces of DNA from bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) contigs, thereby facilitating the building of physical maps. In conclusion, despite its shortcomings, the PFGE technique underlies much of our current understanding of the physical nature of the fungal genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-270
Number of pages28
JournalAdvances in Applied Microbiology
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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