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Evolution of Microsatellite DNA

  1. Iris M Vargas Jentzsch,
  2. Andrew Bagshaw,
  3. Emmanuel Buschiazzo,
  4. Angelika Merkel,
  5. Neil J Gemmell

Published Online: 30 APR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020847



How to Cite

Vargas Jentzsch, I. M., Bagshaw, A., Buschiazzo, E., Merkel, A. and Gemmell, N. J. 2008. Evolution of Microsatellite DNA. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 APR 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (19 SEP 2013)


Microsatellites are highly mutable tandemly repeated sequences that are ubiquitously distributed in bacterial and eukaryotic genomes. Microsatellites became the preferred molecular marker for a variety of applications under the basic assumption that they are selectively neutral. However, the simplicity of this assumption contrasts with the observed variability of mutation rates across microsatellite loci and with the increasing evidence supporting microsatellite functionality. The evolutionary importance of microsatellites is only recently being uncovered with the intense study of their impact on the regulation of gene expression and the interaction among genomic structures.


  • tandem repeats;
  • strand slippage;
  • repetitive