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Conserv Genet. 2008 Dec;9(6):1657-1660.

Isolation and characterization of SNP variation at 90 anonymous loci in the banded wren (Thryothorus pleurostictus).

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  • 1Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program, Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14850, USA.


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are becoming more commonly used as molecular markers in conservation studies. However, relatively few studies have employed SNPs for species with little or no existing sequence data, partly due to the practical challenge of locating appropriate SNP loci in these species. Here we describe an application of SNP discovery via shotgun cloning that requires no pre-existing sequence data and is readily applied to all taxa. Using this method, we isolated, cloned and screened for SNP variation at 90 anonymous sequence loci (51kb total) from the banded wren (Thryothorus pleurostictus), a Central American species with minimal pre-existing sequence data. We identified 168 SNPs (a mean of one SNP/305 bp, with SNPs unevenly distributed across loci). Further characterization of variation at 41 of these SNP loci among 256 individuals including 37 parent-offspring families suggests that they provide substantial information for defining the genetic mating system of this species, and that SNPs may be generally useful for this purpose when other markers are problematic.

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