Molecular markers explained
Molecular markers (also know as DNA markers) are used by researchers to identify genes, within a plant’s genome (DNA), which control desired traits, like drought tolerance. These markers are themselves fragments of DNA that highlight particular genes or region of genes by binding near them.
To use an analogy, think of this story you are now reading as the plant’s genome, its words are its genes and a molecular marker works as a text highlighter. Molecular markers are not precise enough to highlight specific words (genes), but they can highlight sentences (genomic regions), which these words (genes) are in, making it easier and quicker to identify them.
Plant breeders can generally use molecular markers early in the breeding process to predict whether varieties they are developing will have the desired trait.