Development of Microsatellite Primers for Investigating Genetic Connectivity and Diversity of Scleractinian Corals
Bear, Joseph John
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We focus on the development of microsatellite loci isolated from two scleractinian coral species (Montastraea cavernosa and Porites astreoides). To analyze the genetic structure of scleractinian coral populations, it is essential to identify a genetic marker that can evaluate individual or population-level differences (Shearer and Coffroth 2004). Optimal PCR conditions are essential when developing microsatellite loci and were determined through numerous PCRs in varying MgCl2 concentrations, Taq polymerase concentrations, annealing temperatures, and the number of PCR cycles. Sequencing confirmed the presence of microsatellite repeats only in loci McGA5 (8 and 12 repeats) and McCA9 (5, 6, and 8 repeats). The microsatellite repeats confirmed length variability among clones within these two loci rendering them useful in population genetic analyses. Genetic analysis of population differentiation and measurements of gene flow provides a powerful tool for investigating dispersal. The creation of two more microsatellite primers will add to the available resources for analyzing the genetic connectivity and diversity of this scleractinian coral species.