Aims: To test the real suitability of a set of 18 cross-amplified microsatellite primers for individual genotyping of the spotless starling and, therefore, to expand the panel of available microsatellite really useful for genetic studies of this species.
Location: Villalba, Madrid, Spain.
Methods: 18 microsatellite primers isolated from 7 different bird species were used as starting point. Their Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was optimized. The polymorphism and genetic variability of primers that produced bands of expected size and had a clear electropherogram and segregation pattern was checked. To test the real suitability of these primers in genetic studies, they were used to analyze the frequency of extra-pair paternity (EPP), intra-specific brood parasitism (IBP) and pseudo-parasitism in 30 breeding pairs and 206 offspring.
Results: Six of the 18 initial primers were selected by their polymorphism (average alleles per locus: 8), heterozygosity (expected heterozygosity: 0.656), segregation and unambiguous electropherogram pattern. EPP was 16.5 % of offspring and 51 % of clutches. Pseudo-parasitism was 0.97 % of offspring and 3.5 % of clutches. IBP was not detected.
Conclusions: This paper provides 6 cross-amplified polymorphic markers for spotless starling and tests their suitability for genetic studies in this species in a reasonable number of individuals, confirming their utility in possible future studies of genetic diversity, population structure, individual identification and reproductive strategies.
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