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Mol Biol Evol. 1995 Nov;12(6):1106-13.

Microsatellite evolution in congeneric mammals: domestic and bighorn sheep.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula 59812, USA.


We compared genotypes at eight (AC)n microsatellite loci in domestic sheep (Ovis aries) and wild Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (O. canadensis). The domestic sheep had greater genetic variation, higher allele-size variances, and larger allele sizes than the wild sheep. Accumulating evidence from higher taxonomic comparisons shows that these parameters are biased if microsatellite loci are selected in one taxon and used in another. Our results demonstrate similar biases between congeneric species. We compared standard measures of genetic variation, differentiation, and distance within and between species (H, D, FST) to newer measures based on allele-size variance (SW, SB, RST). The size-based distances better detected species-level divergence, but standard measures better distinguished allopatric populations. Empirical calibration of these measures at the subspecies level is needed to establish their useful ranges.

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