Molecular Markers (variants of DNA sequences) are identifiers (or ‘tags’) of certain aspects of a phenotype and /or genotype which could be exploited by plant breeders for incorporating desirable traits into their advancing germplasm. It is important therefore that we understand the proper usage of markers, be able to select the proper marker types, have an understanding of DNA extraction protocols and the general organization of the crop genome of interest.

This lesson is written for plant breeders who are interested in or beginning to use molecular markers.


At the end of this lesson you will (be)

  1. Able to categorize marker types, describe the need for using molecular markers in plant breeding programs, and list the  desirable qualities of markers
  2. List  the common steps in  DNA extraction protocols required to produce sufficient quality and quantity of DNA
  3. Knowledgeable in the molecular or genetic aspects of markers to ensure their proper usage
  4. Gain understanding of the DNA structure, genome organization and the role and design of Primers in the PCR process.

Copyright 2014

This eLesson was supported in part by the National Research Initiative Competitive Grants CAP project 2011-68002-30029 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, administered by the University of California-Davis. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA -NIFA.