Conserved microsatellites in ants enable population genetic and colony pedigree studies across a wide range of species

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Abstract

© 2014 Mineshita et al. Broadly applicable polymorphic genetic markers are essential tools for population genetics, and different types of markers have been developed for this purpose. Microsatellites have been employed as particularly polymorphic markers for over 20 years. However, PCR primers for microsatellite loci are often not useful outside the species for which they were designed. This implies that a new set of loci has to be identified and primers developed for every new study species. To overcome this constraint, we identified 45 conserved microsatellite loci based on the eight currently available ant genomes and designed primers for PCR amplification. Among these loci, we chose 24 for in-depth study in six species covering six different ant subfamilies. On average, 11.16 of these 24 loci were polymorphic and in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in any given species. The average number of alleles for these polymorphic loci within single populations of the different species was 4.59. This set of genetic markers will thus be useful for population genetic and colony pedigree studies across a wide range of ant species, supplementing the markers available for previously studied species and greatly facilitating the study of the many ant species lacking genetic markers. Our study shows that it is possible to develop microsatellite loci that are both conserved over a broad range of taxa, yet polymorphic within species. This should encourage researchers to develop similar tools for other large taxonomic groups. Copyright:

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Butler, I. A., Siletti, K., Oxley, P. R., & Kronauer, D. J. C. (2014). Conserved microsatellites in ants enable population genetic and colony pedigree studies across a wide range of species. PLoS ONE, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107334

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