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Trinucleotide microsatellites in Norway spruce (Picea abies): their features and the development of molecular markers


Trinucleotide microsatellites have proven to be the markers of choice in human genetic analysis because they are easier to genotype than dinucleotides. Their development can be more time-consuming due to their lower abundance in the genome. We isolated trinucleotide microsatellites in Norway spruce (Picea abies K.) using an enrichment procedure for the genomic-library construction. Here we report on the characterisation of 85 ATC microsatellite-containing clones, from which 39 markers were developed. Many of the clones showed the occurrence of tandem repeats of higher order than the trinucleotide ones, often resembling minisatellite repeats. The sequencing of a sample of the alleles at one of the loci revealed size homoplasy due to base substitutions within the microsatellite region. The presence of ATC motifs within repetitive sequence families was observed. We found a significant relationship between the level of polymorphism and the length of the microsatellite. The levels of variability for ATC trinucleotide markers were lower than those for dinucleotides, both when tested on all loci in a set of six individuals and on a subset of loci in four natural populations. This difference is most likely attributable to lower mutation rates for trinucleotide than for dinucleotide loci. The availability of markers with different mutation rates allows one to select the proper marker set to investigate population processes on different time scales.

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Scotti, .I., Magni, .F., Paglia, .G. et al. Trinucleotide microsatellites in Norway spruce (Picea abies): their features and the development of molecular markers. Theor Appl Genet 106, 40–50 (2002).

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  • Norway spruce Molecular markers Microsatellite Genetic variability Trinucleotide