What is microsatellites?

microsatellites meaning loci (or regions within DNA sequences) where short sequences of DNA nucleotides are repeated in tandem arrays (the sequences are repeated one right after the other). The lengths of sequences used most often are di-, tri-, or tetra-nucleotides. In the literature they can also be called simple sequence repeats (SSR), short tandem repeats (STR), or variable number tandem repeats (VNTR). Microsatellites are inherited in a Mendelian fashion. They are widely used in the following applications: forensic identification and relatedness testing; diagnosis and identification of diseases; population studies (by looking at the variation of microsatellites in populations, inferences can be made about population structures and differences, genetic drift, genetic bottlenecks and even the date of a last common ancestor); and conservation biology where they can be used to detect sudden changes in population, effects of population fragmentation, and interaction of different populations. Microsatellites are useful in identification of new and incipient populations


reference: Coral Reef Information System – Glossary

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