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Cycads are ancient dioecious plants which have commercial, ecological, and economic importance. Ceratozamia mexicana Brongn., is a threatened and endemic species from Mexico with a high mortality rate in seedling and juvenile stages regardless of its sex. In this work we obtained a specific inter-simple sequence repeat marker for the males, associated with the NEEDLY gene, which is orthologous to the LEAFY gene in gymnosperms, a promoter of sexual differentiation. A DNA fragment of 50 bp, which was specific for male individuals, was used to corroborate the identity of the specific sequence characterized amplified region sex marker. This work is an important contribution to understanding the dioecism in gymnosperms and to establish an efficient way for the conservation and management of this population.
Keywords: Cycads, dioecism, SCAR, NEEDLY, sexual differentiation