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Isolation and characterization of 15 new microsatellite markers for the globally endangered Lear’s macaw Anodorhynchus leari


A set of 16 microsatellite markers was characterized for Lear’s macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) using DNA samples from captive individuals. Extending this molecular toolkit, including the use of samples from wild individuals, is expected to provide the required power of resolution for pedigree inference of both wild and captive individuals, and could support research on the genetic structure of wild populations. We characterize a set of 15 microsatellite markers optimized for the Lear’s macaw, developed from a microsatellite-enriched library in a three-step procedure. Primer pairs were initially designed for 62 microsatellites with > 7 tandem repetitions. After amplification of DNA of five wild individuals from different localities, 22 loci seemed to be polymorphic and were further tested on 12 wild nestling samples. Fifteen unlinked loci showed unambiguous peaks and low to moderate polymorphism levels. The combination of the four most polymorphic markers allowed individual identification even of putative sibs.These markers complement previously described microsatellites developed for A. leari and constitute a fundamental genetic toolkit for the investigation of the genetics of both wild and captive populations, thus assisting integrated management plans for the conservation of this globally endangered species.

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We thank Ana Píriz, Mónica Gutiérrez, for technical support (Laboratory of Molecular Ecology, LEM-EBD) and Doñana ICTS-RBD. Alejandro Centeno-Cuadros, José A. Godoy, Sol Rodríguez-Martínez, Flávia Presti, Fernanda R. Paschotto for discussing the sampling design and helping to organize the manuscript. To Thiago Filadelfo, Fernando Hiraldo-Cano, A. Eduardo A. Barbosa, Dorivaldo M. Alves, Maximo Cardoso, João C. Nogueira, Guilherme Feitosa, Mathew Arundale, Rebecca Green (Erasmus plus), M. Fernanda Lacerda, Fernanda R. Paschotto and Roberta Alves for field work and laboratory work. To Fundação Biodiversitas (Canudos Biological Station), Instituto Arara Azul (Neiva Guedes) and Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (Luís Fabio Silveira) for field work support and for assisting to issue national and international permits.


Loro Parque Fundación (101-2015) funded this genetic laboratory work. ECP was supported by an international PhD fellowship granted by CAPES (the Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education). CYM was granted by CNPq (303713/2015-1, 306204/2019-3).

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Correspondence to Erica C. Pacífico.

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Legal permits to conduct the field research, access protected areas in Brazil, handle birds and collect biological material were extended by SISBIO, permit n. 12763. CITES permit n. 14BR016156/DF allowed the transport of blood samples and feathers from Brazil to Spain for genetic analyses. Birds were handled following the guidelines of the Sistema Nacional de Anilhamento (SNA, CEMAVE, ICMBIO, MMA) under the authorization 2991 and bird banding license 458295, according to IN-IBAMA no 27/2002 of 23/12/2002. Blood sampling was approved by the Animal Use Ethical Committee (Comissão de Ética no Uso de Animais, Brazil), protocol 188/2013 (CYM).

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Pacífico, E.C., Sánchez-Montes, G., Miyaki, C.Y. et al. Isolation and characterization of 15 new microsatellite markers for the globally endangered Lear’s macaw Anodorhynchus leari. Mol Biol Rep 47, 8279–8285 (2020).

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  • Microsatellite loci
  • Parrots
  • Conservation genetics
  • Lear’s macaw
  • Endangered species