Identification of hypervariable single locus minisatellite DNA probes in the blue tit Parus caeruleus


  • This paper is the result of a collaboration between the Animal Ecology (Antwerp), Neurogenetics (Antwerp) and Zoology (Leicester) laboratories directed by Andre Dhondt, Christine Van Broeckhoven and Terry Burke, respectively. Geert R. Verheyen and Bart Kempenaers are PhD students studying the molecular population genetics and behavioural ecology of the blue tit and Marleen Van den Broeck is a laboratory technician.

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We report the isolation of a set of hypervariable minisatellite DNA sequences from a blue tit Parus caeruleus genomic DNA library. In our strategy, we cloned a minisatellite-rich DNA fraction into a charomid vector. The resulting cosmid library was screened with the two minisatellite DNA probes 33.6 and 33.15 for recombinants containing a minisatellite DNA insert. A total of 233 positive clones were isolated. Of 37 clones that have been analysed, nine gave polymorphic signals and can be used as single locus probes (SLPs). Four of the SLPs were investigated in more detail. The number of alleles, the heterozygosity and the mutation rate were estimated. Linkage analysis revealed that two of these loci were linked. The SLPs are of value to studies of the mating system and reproductive success in the blue tit, and may also be useful in population genetic studies.