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SSCP is not so difficult: the application and utility of single-stranded conformation polymorphism in evolutionary biology and molecular ecology

Authors

  • P. Sunnucks,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
      *Present address: Department of Genetics, La Trobe University, VIC 3083, Australia. Fax: 61 39479 2480; E-mail: Paul Sunnucks.*Present address: Department of Genetics, La Trobe University, VIC 3083, Australia. Fax: 61 39479 2480; E-mail:p.sunnucks@latrobe.edu.au
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  • A. C. C. Wilson,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
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      Division of Botany and Zoology, The Australian National University, ACT 0200 Australia,
  • L. B. Beheregaray,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
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  • K. Zenger,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
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  • J. French,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
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  • A. C. Taylor

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
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      ‡Department of Biological Sciences, Monash University, VIC 3800, Australia.

  • Present addresses:Division of Botany and Zoology, The Australian National University, ACT 0200 Australia,‡Department of Biological Sciences, Monash University, VIC 3800, Australia.

Paul Sunnucks.*Present address: Department of Genetics, La Trobe University, VIC 3083, Australia. Fax: 61 39479 2480; E-mail:p.sunnucks@latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

All genetic markers are estimators of DNA nucleotide sequence variation. Rather than obtaining DNA sequence data, it is cheaper and faster to use techniques that estimate sequence variation, although this usually results in the loss of some information. SSCP (single-stranded conformation polymorphism) offers a sensitive but inexpensive, rapid, and convenient method for determining which DNA samples in a set differ in sequence, so that only an informative subset need be sequenced. In short, most DNA sequence variation can be detected with relatively little sequencing. SSCP has been widely applied in medical diagnosis, yet few studies have been published in population genetics. The utility and convenience of SSCP is far from fully appreciated by molecular population biologists. We hope to help redress this by illustrating the application of a single simple SSCP protocol to mitochondrial genes, nuclear introns, microsatellites, and anonymous nuclear sequences, in a range of vertebrates and invertebrates.

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