4 years ago

Level of genetic differentiation affects relative performances of expressed sequence tag and genomic SSRs

Aurélie Khimoun, Stéphane Garnier, Bruno Faivre, Anthony Ollivier
Microsatellites, also called simple sequence repeats (SSRs), are markers of choice to estimate relevant parameters for conservation genetics, such as migration rates, effective population size and kinship. Cross-amplification of SSRs is the simplest way to obtain sets of markers, and highly conserved SSRs have recently been developed from expressed sequence tags (EST) to improve SSR cross-species utility. As EST-SSRs are located in coding regions, the higher stability of their flanking regions reduces the frequency of null alleles and improves cross-species amplification. However, EST-SSRs have generally less allelic variability than genomic SSRs, potentially leading to differences in estimates of population genetic parameters such as genetic differentiation. To assess the potential of EST-SSRs in studies of within-species genetic diversity, we compared the relative performance of EST- and genomic SSRs following a multispecies approach on passerine birds. We tested whether patterns and levels of genetic diversity within and between populations assessed from EST- and from genomic SSRs are congruent, and we investigated how the relative efficiency of EST- and genomic SSRs is influenced by levels of differentiation. EST- and genomic SSRs ensured comparable inferences of population genetic structure in cases of strong genetic differentiation, and genomic SSRs performed slightly better than EST-SSRs when differentiation is moderate. However and interestingly, EST-SSRs had a higher power to detect weak genetic structure compared to genomic SSRs. Our study attests that EST-SSRs may be valuable molecular markers for conservation genetic studies in taxa such as birds, where the development of genomic SSRs is impeded by their low frequency.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12642

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