Successful development of microsatellite markers in a challenging species

the horizontal borer Austroplatypus incompertus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).

S. Smith*, T. Joss, A. Stow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


The analysis of microsatellite loci has allowed significant advances in evolutionary biology and pest management. However, until very recently, the potential benefits have been compromised by the high costs of developing these neutral markers. High-throughput sequencing provides a solution to this problem. We describe the development of 13 microsatellite markers for the eusocial ambrosia beetle, Austroplatypus incompertus, a significant pest of forests in southeast Australia. The frequency of microsatellite repeats in the genome of A. incompertus was determined to be low, and previous attempts at microsatellite isolation using a traditional genomic library were problematic. Here, we utilised two protocols, microsatellite-enriched genomic library construction and high-throughput 454 sequencing and characterised 13 loci which were polymorphic among 32 individuals. Numbers of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 17, and observed and expected heterozygosities from 0.344 to 0.767 and from 0.507 to 0.860, respectively. These microsatellites have the resolution required to analyse fine-scale colony and population genetic structure. Our work demonstrates the utility of next-generation 454 sequencing as a method for rapid and cost-effective acquisition of microsatellites where other techniques have failed, or for taxa where marker development has historically been both complicated and expensive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-555
Number of pages5
JournalBulletin of Entomological Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

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