Evolution of Nine Microsatellite Loci in the Fungus Fusarium oxysporum
The evolution of nine microsatellites and one minisatellite was investigated in the fungus Fusarium oxysporum and sister taxa Fusarium redolens and Fusarium verticillioides. Compared to other organisms, fungi have been reported to contain fewer and less polymorphic microsatellites. Mutational patterns over evolutionary time were studied for these ten loci by mapping changes in core repeat numbers onto a phylogeny based on the sequence of the conserved translation elongation factor 1-α gene. The patterns of microsatellite formation, expansion, and interruption by base substitutions were followed across the phylogeny, showing that these loci are evolving in a manner similar to that of microsatellites in other eukaryotes. Most mutations could be fit to a stepwise mutation model, but a few appear to have involved multiple repeat units. No evidence of gene conversion was seen at the minisatellite locus, which may also be mutating by replication slippage. Some homoplastic numbers of repeat units were observed for these loci, and polymorphisms in the regions flanking the microsatellites may provide better genetic markers for population genetics studies of these species.