Abstracts (first author)
Engineering microsatellite markers to study and compare a wide range of species
We have developed a set of conserved avian markers with high cross-species utility in order to save resources and enable new comparisons between species. These markers will not only reduce the necessity and expense of microsatellite isolation for a wide range of genetic studies, including avian parentage and population analyses, but will also now enable comparisons of genetic diversity among different species (and populations) at the same set of loci, with no or reduced bias. No other marker type enables such comparisons. Additionally, these markers (i.e. microsatellites), in contrast to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and genotyping-by-sequencing methods, are readily typed in samples of low DNA quality or concentration (e.g. non-invasive samples or museum specimens), and enable the quick cheap identification of species, hybrids, clones and ploidy. We selected zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) sequences that possessed a repeat region and that displayed high sequence similarity to chicken (Gallus gallus). Each primer sequence was a complete match to zebra finch and, after accounting for degenerate bases, at least 86% similar to chicken. These markers are of especially high utility in passerines, but also show utility in non-passerine species. The approach used here can be applied to other taxa in which appropriate genome sequences are available.