Skip to main content

Isolation and characterization of twelve polymorphic microsatellite loci for investigating an extreme case of microgeographical variation in an island bird (Zosterops borbonicus)


Twelve polymorphic microsatellite loci were characterized in order to investigate an extreme case of microgeographical variation in an island-dwelling passerine (Zosterops borbonicus). Variation was examined in two distinct natural populations of 27 individuals each. The loci displayed 5–20 alleles, with observed heterozygosities ranging between 0.33 and 0.93. All but one loci (Z16) conformed to Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. None of the pairwise comparisons among loci showed significant linkage disequilibrium after sequential Bonferonni correction. Successful cross-species amplification in additional Zosterops species and other passerines suggests their broad applicability.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Belkhir K, Borsa P, Chikhi L, Raufaste N, Catch F (2004) GENETIX 4. 0. 5. 2 Software under Windows™ for the genetics of the populations. Laboratory genome, populations, interactions, CNRS UMR 5000. University of Montpellier II, Montpellier

  • Bloor P, De Laguna HB, Kemp SJ (2006) Highly polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite loci for the eastern Canary Island lizard, Gallotia atlantica. Mol Ecol Notes 6:737–739. doi:10.1111/j.1471-8286.2006.01326.x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Brownstein MJ, Carpten JD, Smith JR (1996) Modulation of non-templated nucleotide addition by Taq DNA polymerase: primer modifications that facilitate genotyping. BioTechniques 20:1004-6-1008-10

    Google Scholar 

  • Gill FB (1973) Intra-island variation in the Mascarene white-eye Zosterops borbonica. Ornitholog Monogr 12:1–66

    Google Scholar 

  • IUCN (2011) IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2011.1. Downloaded on 03 Oct 2011

  • Milá B, Warren BH, Heeb P, Thébaud C (2010) The geographic scale of diversification on islands: genetic and morphological divergence at a very small spatial scale in the Mascarene grey white-eye (Aves: Zosterops borbonicus). BMC Evol Biol 10:158. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-158

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moyle RG, Filardi CE, Smith CE, Diamond J (2009) Explosive pleistocene diversification and hemispheric expansion of a “great speciator”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:1863–1868. doi:10.1073/pnas.0809861105

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Raymond M, Rousset F (1995) GENEPOP (version 1.2): population genetics software for exact tests and ecumenicism. J Heredity 86:248–249

    Google Scholar 

  • Rice WM (1989) Analyzing tables of statistical tests. Evol Int J Org Evol 43:223–225. doi:10.2307/2409177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rousset F (2008) Genepop’007: a complete reimplementation of the Genepop software for Windows and Linux. Mol Ecol Resour 8:103–106. doi:10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.01931.x

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rozen S, Skaletsky H (2000) Primer 3 on the WWW for general users and for biologist programmers. In: Misener S, Krawetz S (eds) Bioinformatics methods and protocols. Humana Press, Totowa, pp 365–386. doi:10.1385/1-59259-192-2:365

    Google Scholar 

  • van Oosterhout C, Hutchinson WF, Wills DPM, Shipley P (2004) MICRO-CHECKER: software for identifying and correcting genotyping errors in microsatellite data. Mol Ecol Notes 4:535–538. doi:10.1111/j.1471-8286.2004.00684.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Warren BH, Bermingham E, Prys-Jones RP, Thébaud C (2006) Immigration, species radiation and extinction in a highly diverse songbird lineage: white-eyes on Indian Ocean islands. Mol Ecol 15:3769–3786. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.03058.x

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


Funding was provided by the IFB, the ANR Biodiversity Program, and the SYNTHESYS Program ( of the European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 “Capacities” Programme at the National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain. We are grateful to Benoit Lequette, Marc Salamolard and Dominique Strasberg for facilitating sample collection, and to Ben Warren for providing blood samples.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joris A. M. Bertrand.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bertrand, J.A.M., García-Jiménez, R., Bourgeois, Y. et al. Isolation and characterization of twelve polymorphic microsatellite loci for investigating an extreme case of microgeographical variation in an island bird (Zosterops borbonicus). Conservation Genet Resour 4, 323–326 (2012).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Bird
  • Island
  • Microsatellites
  • White-eye
  • Zosterops