Microsatellite Marker Development and Analysis in the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica): Confirmation of Null Alleles and Non-Mendelian Segregation Ratios

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Abstract

Eighteen microsatellite markers were developed for the Crassostrea virginica nuclear genome, including di-, tri-, and tetranucleotide microsatellite repeat regions that included perfect, imperfect, and compound repeat sequences. A reference panel with DNA from the parents and four progeny of 10 full-sib families was used for a preliminary confirmation of polymorphism at these loci and indications of null alleles. Null alleles were discovered at three loci; in two instances, primer redesign enabled their amplification. Two to five representative alleles from each locus were sequenced to ensure that the targeted loci were amplifying. The sequence analysis revealed not only variation in the number of simple sequence repeat units, but also polymorphisms in the microsatellite flanking regions. A total of 3626 bp of combined microsatellite flanking region from the 18 loci was examined, revealing indels as well as nucleotide site substitutions. Overall, 16 indels and 146 substitutions were found with an average of 4.5% polymorphism across all loci. Eight markers were tested on the parents and 39–61 progeny from each of four families for examination of allelic inheritance patterns and genotypic ratios. Twenty-six tests of segregation ratios revealed eight significant departures from expected Mendelian ratios, three of which remained significant after correction for multiple tests. Deviations were observed in both the directions of heterozygote excess and deficiency.

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