Universität Bonn

Genetic Markers

Molecular genetic markers are a possibility to detect relationships between species, populations, variants or even individuals. Therefore, different analytical goals require different types of genetic markers.

Within our group, we work mostly on SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) and microsatellite markers, analyzing relationships between different inbred lines (in maize) as well as between different species.


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are a widely used type of genetic markers. They are applied e.g. to distinguish between different variations or individuals of the same species.

Together with the Hochholdinger group (INRES – Crop Functional Genomics) we worked on expression patterns in maize, where we used SNPs to identify single-parent expressed (SPE) genes.

The results of those analyses are published in the following papers:

  • Baldauf et al.: Single-parent expression is a general mechanism driving extensive complementation of non-syntenic genes in maize hybrids. Current Biology, 28(3):431-437, 2018. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.12.027.
  • Baldauf et al.: Robust nonsyntenic gene expression patterns in diverse maize hybrids during root development. Journal of Experimental Botany, 71(3):865-876, 2020. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz452.


An other type of commonly used genetic markers are microsatellites. Microsatellites are short fragments of DNA (mostly up to six base-pairs) that are repeated, typically 5-50 times. They are also referred to as short tandem repeats (STRs) or as simple sequence repeats (SSRs).

In our group, the conducted analyses using microsatellites refer to an evolutionary-wide set of genome sequences, searching for commonly conserved patterns within the whole tree of life, ranging from plants (e.g. barley) to insects (e.g. Drosophila) and mammals (e.g. cattle).

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