Distinguishing species of European sturgeons Acipenser spp. using microsatellite allele sequences
Five microsatellite markers were analysed and their alleles were sequenced for the three sturgeon species that lived in western Europe: the European sturgeon Acipenser sturio, the Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus and the Adriatic sturgeon Acipenser naccarii. A total of 94 different allele sequences were obtained. Fixed mutations in the flanking regions or in the core repeat of microsatellites provided a clear distinction between the different species. Comparison of allele sequences also provided some insights into microsatellites and the evolution of Acipenser species. These nuclear markers can be used to solve species determination problems, and combined with mitochondrial markers, will be useful to identify introgression and hybridization among the three species. Moreover, because they are short and with a limited allele size range, they are particularly suited for analysis of museum specimens or archaeological remains.