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Development of microsatellite loci exhibiting reverse ascertainment bias and a sexing marker for use in Emperor Geese (Chen canagica)

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The Alaskan population of Emperor Geese (Chen canagica) nests on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska. Numbers of Emperor Geese in Alaska declined from the 1960s to the mid-1980s and since then, their numbers have slowly increased. Low statistical power of microsatellite loci developed in other waterfowl species and used in previous studies of Emperor Geese are unable to confidently assign individual identity. Microsatellite loci for Emperor Goose were therefore developed using shotgun amplification and next-generation sequencing technology. Forty-one microsatellite loci were screened and 14 were found to be polymorphic in Emperor Geese. Only six markers – a combination of four novel loci and two loci developed in other waterfowl species – are needed to identify an individual from among the Alaskan Emperor Goose population. Genetic markers for identifying sex in Emperor Geese were also developed. The 14 novel variable loci and 15 monomorphic loci were screened for polymorphism in four other Arctic-nesting goose species, Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans), Greater White-fronted (Anser albifrons), Canada (B. canadensis) and Cackling (B. hutchinsii) Goose. Emperor Goose exhibited the smallest average number of alleles (3.3) and the lowest expected heterozygosity (0.467). Greater White-fronted Geese exhibited the highest average number of alleles (4.7) and Cackling Geese the highest expected heterozygosity (0.599). Six of the monomorphic loci were variable and able to be characterised in the other goose species assayed, a predicted outcome of reverse ascertainment bias. These findings fail to support the hypothesis of ascertainment bias due to selection of microsatellite markers.
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Keywords: CHEN CANAGICA; EMPEROR GOOSE; MICROSATELLITE MARKERS; MOLECULAR SEXING; REVERSE ASCERTAINMENT BIAS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2017

This article was made available online on 27 September 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Development of microsatellite loci exhibiting reverse ascertainment bias and a sexing marker for use in Emperor Geese (Chen canagica)".

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