Isolation, characterization and cross-species amplification of new microsatellite markers for three opossum species of the Didelphidae family


The American opossums from the Didelphidae family (Order: Didelphimorphia) are on the IUCN Red List, and their threatened status varies from extinct to data deficient. Although microsatellites have already been developed for some species, only a small amount of population genetic analysis of the didelphid wild populations has been made using them. In this work, we developed new microsatellites and tested for cross-species amplification for one species from the subfamily Caluromyinae, Caluromys philander, and two from the subfamily Didelphinae, Didelphis aurita and Metachirus nudicaudatus, to determine the degree of gene flow and isolation of populations of those species in some fragments of the Atlantic Forest in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Among all microsatellite loci amplified, 18 from C. philander, 9 from D. aurita, and 17 from M. nudicaudatus were polymorphic. Cross-species amplification of these polymorphic microsatellite loci were performed in these three species and in one additional related species Micoureus paraguayanus. Our data showed that microsatellites were not highly conserved among Didelphidae species.

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We would like to thank our colleagues from the Sackler Institute of Comparative Genomics, especially Matt Leslie; colleagues from the Mammalogy Lab of the General Biology Department of ICB-UFMG, who helped us with the field work and who furnished samples, especially Raquel Moura. This study is funded by the CNPq Project PELD-PERD, the CAPES Foundation (Ph.D. student fellowship), and the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics—AMNH.

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Correspondence to Isabela M. G. Dias.

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Dias, I.M.G., Amato, G., Cunha, H.M. et al. Isolation, characterization and cross-species amplification of new microsatellite markers for three opossum species of the Didelphidae family. Conservation Genet Resour 1, 405 (2009).

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  • Didelphidae
  • Microsatellite
  • Caluromys
  • Didelphis
  • Metachirus
  • Micoureus
  • Opossum