• evolutionary genomics;
  • microsatellites;
  • comparative analysis;
  • arthropods;
  • Nasonia


Microsatellites are important molecular markers used in numerous genetic contexts. Despite this widespread use, the evolutionary processes governing microsatellite distribution and diversity remain controversial. Here, we present results on the distribution of microsatellites of three species in the parasitic wasp genus Nasonia generated by an in silico data-mining approach. Our results show that the overall microsatellite density in Nasonia is comparable to that of the honey bee, but much higher than in eight non-Hymenopteran arthropods. Across the Nasonia vitripennis genome, microsatellite density varied both within and amongst chromosomes. In contrast to other taxa, dinucleotides are the most abundant repeat type in all four species of Hymenoptera studied. Whether the differences between the Hymenoptera and other taxa are of functional significance remains to be determined.