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Genetics. Nov 2003; 165(3): 1475–1488.
PMCID: PMC1462854

An analysis of microsatellite loci in Arabidopsis thaliana: mutational dynamics and application.


Microsatellite loci are among the most commonly used molecular markers. These loci typically exhibit variation for allele frequency distribution within a species. However, the factors contributing to this variation are not well understood. To expand on the current knowledge of microsatellite evolution, 20 microsatellite loci were examined for 126 accessions of the flowering plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Substantial variability in mutation pattern among loci was found, most of which cannot be explained by the assumptions of the traditional stepwise mutation model or infinite alleles model. Here it is shown that the degree of locus diversity is strongly correlated with the number of contiguous repeats, more so than with the total number of repeats. These findings support a strong role for repeat disruptions in stabilizing microsatellite loci by reducing the substrate for polymerase slippage and recombination. Results of cluster analyses are also presented, demonstrating the potential of microsatellite loci for resolving relationships among accessions of A. thaliana.

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Selected References

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