Development of twenty-three novel microsatellite markers for the seagrass, Zostera muelleri from Australia

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Journal Article
Conservation Genetics Resources, 2012, 4 (3), pp. 689 - 693
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Seagrasses are one of the most productive and economically important habitats in the coastal zone, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate, with more than half the world's seagrass area lost since the 1990s. They now face serious threat from climate change, and there is much current speculation over whether they will survive the coming decades. The future of seagrasses depends on their ability to recover and adapt to environmental change-i.e. their 'resilience'. Key to this, is understanding the role that genetic diversity plays in the resilience of this highly clonal group of species. To investigate population structure, genetic diversity, mating system (sexual versus asexual reproduction) and patterns of connectivity, we isolated and characterised 23 microsatellite loci using next generation sequencing for the Australian seagrass species, Zostera muelleri (syn. Z. capricorni), which is regarded as a globally significant congeneric species. Loci were tested for levels of variation based on eight individuals sampled from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. We detected high to moderate levels of genetic variation across most loci with a mean allelic richness of 3.64 and unbiased expected hetrozygosity of 0.562. We found no evidence for linkage disequilibrium between any loci and only three loci (ZosNSW25, ZosNSW2, and ZosNSW47) showed significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. All individuals displayed a unique multi-locus genotype and the combined probability of identity across all loci was low (PID = 1.87 × 10-12) indicating a high level of power in detecting unique genotypes. These 23 markers will provide an important tool for future population genetic assessments in this important keystone species. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
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