• molecular markers;
  • SSCP;
  • scnDNA;
  • population genetics;
  • gene genealogy

A simple method is presented for developing polymorphic, anonymous DNA markers suitable for population genetic studies. Anonymous DNA fragments are screened for sequence variability using a common mutation detection technique (single strand conformation polymorphism analysis; SSCP) and locus-specific PCR primers are designed for polymorphic DNA fragments. Detection of the markers by SSCP analysis coupled with sequence analysis of SSCP variants allows rapid screening while retaining information about the genealogical relationship among alleles. Variability detected for six markers was assessed in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and was compared with variability detected by similar analysis of intron loci. Between three and 12 distinct alleles were observed at each marker locus, and average within-population heterozygosity ranged from 0.12 to 0.44. Advantages and limitations of the methodology for population genetic analysis are discussed.