Saulo Alves Aflitos, Gabino Sanchez-Perez, Dick de Ridder, Paul Fransz, Eric Schranz, Hans de Jong, Sander Peters
(Submitted on 21 Apr 2015)
Breeding by introgressive hybridization is a pivotal strategy to broaden the genetic basis of crops. Usually, the desired traits are monitored in consecutive crossing generations by marker-assisted selection, but their analyses fail in chromosome regions where crossover recombinants are rare or not viable. Here, we present the Introgression Browser (IBROWSER), a novel bioinformatics tool aimed at visualizing introgressions at nucleotide or SNP accuracy. The software selects homozygous SNPs from Variant Call Format (VCF) information and filters out heterozygous SNPs, Multi-Nucleotide Polymorphisms (MNPs) and insertion-deletions (InDels). For data analysis IBROWSER makes use of sliding windows, but if needed it can generate any desired fragmentation pattern through General Feature Format (GFF) information. In an example of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) accessions we visualize SNP patterns and elucidate both position and boundaries of the introgressions. We also show that our tool is capable of identifying alien DNA in a panel of the closely related S. pimpinellifolium by examining phylogenetic relationships of the introgressed segments in tomato. In a third example, we demonstrate the power of the IBROWSER in a panel of 600 Arabidopsis accessions, detecting the boundaries of a SNP-free region around a polymorphic 1.17 Mbp inverted segment on the short arm of chromosome 4. The architecture and functionality of IBROWSER makes the software appropriate for a broad set of analyses including SNP mining, genome structure analysis, and pedigree analysis. Its functionality, together with the capability to process large data sets and efficient visualization of sequence variation, makes IBROWSER a valuable breeding tool.