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Trends Ecol Evol. 2001 Mar 1;16(3):142-147.

Chloroplast microsatellites: new tools for studies in plant ecology and evolution.


The nonrecombinant, uniparentally inherited nature of organelle genomes makes them useful tools for evolutionary studies. However, in plants, detecting useful polymorphism at the population level is often difficult because of the low level of substitutions in the chloroplast genome, and because of the slow substitution rates and intramolecular recombination of mtDNA. Chloroplast microsatellites represent potentially useful markers to circumvent this problem and, to date, studies have demonstrated high levels of intraspecific variability. Here, we discuss the use of these markers in ecological and evolutionary studies of plants, as well as highlighting some of the potential problems associated with such use.

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